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More Members, More Coverage, More Innovation: Blue Shield of California Releases its 2018 Mission Report

Insurer pays $17.3 billion in claims in 2018 - a nearly 15% increase, membership grows 5.6 percent to 4.3 million
Paul Markovich Boardroom square
Paul Markovich, Blue Shield of California's President and Chief Executive

Blue Shield of California paid $17.3 billion to cover medical services in 2018 -- up 14.7 percent over 2017 -- to its growing membership base.

Blue Shield’s plan members now total more than 4.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, up 5.6 percent since 2017. The company had 2.9 million plan members at the end of 2013.

The company’s latest vital statistics were released today in its 2018 Mission Report.

The report said that the growing plan base helped boost revenues to more than $20 billion in 2018, of which 83.6 percent was spent paying for health services.

A few additional highlights from 2018 include:

  • Blue Shield of California Foundation issued $26.6 million in grants to support health initiatives and stem domestic violence
  • Lifestyle medicine programs are growing in popularity: for example, enrolment in Blue Shield’s Diabetes Prevention Program grew to more than 20,000 plan members, from 7,000 members a year earlier
  • More than 12,000 plan members received home based services, reducing hospital admissions and emergency room visits


 “When I look at our many accomplishments in 2018, I’m proud that Blue Shield of California’s 6,808 employees are keeping the needs of our members– and indeed all healthcare consumers  – at the center of our plans for 2019, 2020 and beyond,” wrote Paul Markovich, president and CEO, in a letter included in the report.

The company made a number of investments in innovative, state-wide initiatives in 2018 to leverage technology to improve care, supporting a digital health network for patient records, a statewide provider directory and an innovative new approach to create real-time claims payments.

Blue Shield’s partnerships with hospitals and physicians are improving quality and changing the status quo. Known as Accountable Care Organizations or ACOs, these arrangements share accountability for the cost and quality of care for patients. On average in 2018, the ACO plans experienced a lower cost of health care trend than similar non-ACO plans.

The company is also increasingly supporting members with Shield Concierge service, including teams of registered nurses, health coaches, social workers and pharmacists who help provide personalized support. More than 500,000 plan members used the service in 2018, with a satisfaction rating of 82 percent.

To read this year’s Mission Report, click on