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2017 Blue Shield of California Mission Report


With access to affordable, quality health care under siege, Blue Shield of California is deepening its commitment to developing new models of “whole person care” while driving health care into the digital age. In its 2017 Mission Report, released today, the non-profit health care organization provides a look at its critical initiatives to challenge the status quo and create a healthcare system worthy of friends and family. 

“At Blue Shield of California, we’re on a mission to transform a fragmented, often dysfunctional healthcare system into one in which all Californians can access the high-quality care they deserve at a price they can afford,” said Paul Markovich, Blue Shield’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“It is an ambitious goal, but it’s one we are uniquely positioned to achieve as a nonprofit health plan,” he said.  

Founded in 1939, Blue Shield was created by a group of California physicians dedicated to help families of any economic means afford quality medical care through a then pioneer prepaid plan.

The report highlights Blue Shield’s success and efforts in:

  • Driving digital Initiatives to bring healthcare into the 21st Century, including increased investments in personalized member online experiences.

  • Broadening the reach of its Accountable Care Organizations, innovative statewide collaborations with physicians and hospitals that tie pay to value, leading to improved clinical outcomes, reduced hospital stays and emergency room visits, and cost savings.

  • Advocating for federal and state public policies that defend core consumer protections and access to coverage while pushing for drug price transparency.

The report shows Blue Shield’s leadership in healthcare’s digital evolution – how the non-profit is creating a simpler, seamless, personalized experience for its members online. To that end, Blue Shield is collaborating with Integrated Healthcare Association to develop a new statewide provider directory utility which will ensure that consumers have the most up-to-date and accurate information about providers. And looking to ease access to board-certified physicians 24 hours a day, Blue Shield integrated telehealth provider, Teladoc, into its website in 2017, the report says.

Significantly, the non-profit plan brought lifestyle medicine to the forefront by launching new healthcare initiatives and models. Research shows programs that include a healthy diet, physical activity, stress management and tobacco cessation is “often the safest, least invasive and most cost-effective way to address many chronic conditions, and it empowers people to take control of their own well-being,” according to the report.

Key to Blue Shield’s success is its investment in its diverse team of 6,800 employees. In 2017, 84% of employees surveyed said Blue Shield is a “great place to work” and 87% “believe our long term strategic goals will achieve our mission,” according to the report.

Volunteerism and employee donations were up. 

  • 45% of employees volunteered, a three-fold increase since 2015.

  • 26,000 hours volunteered.

  • $474,000 total donated by employees with Blue Shield matching.

Leigh Purry, a compliance consultant in Blue Shield’s law department, volunteered a jaw-dropping 600 hours last year. She said her ability to combine her career with her passion for helping people has been a unique benefit of working at Blue Shield. “I’ve never had the opportunity in a corporate setting to do this kind of community service work,” Ms. Purry said. “It’s truly amazing.”


As a non-profit plan, Blue Shield is driven by its mission and members - not shareholders. To underscore its mission, in 2011, Blue Shield took the unique step of capping its net income at 2%, committing to return anything above that to customers and the community. In 2017, Blue Shield’s revenues were $17.7 billion, and net income was $296 million, or 1.7% of revenues.

Blue Shield gave $35 million to the Blue Shield of California Foundation, an independent organization that looks to create a vibrant community health ecosystem and advance the lives of Californians most in need. Blue Shield has contributed a total of $500 million since 2002. The foundation awarded more than $25 million in grants in 2017.

“Our mission doesn’t stop at our members,” CEO Markovich wrote in the report, “it extends to all Californians and beyond.”

To view the full 2017 Mission Report, please click here.