Health is our highest priority – and for everyone to thrive, we need a healthy environment. As a leading health insurer, Blue Shield of California can play an important role in safeguarding health through actions on climate. We have set aggressive environmental sustainability goals: to be carbon negative by the end of 2023 and have zero-waste operations by the end of 2025. As part of our efforts to ensure healthy communities, Blue Shield is committed to achieving our goal of 80% of our members opting in for paperless communication by 2025, an effort that is being led by Vivian Burgard, transformation principal of Communications Governance, which oversees all member communications.
In 2022, Blue Shield reached an important milestone with more than 60% of our communications with members becoming digital. Vivian shared that we are on track to reach our goal of 80% paperless communications with members by the end of this year.
“Under Communications Governance, one of our goals is to drive digital communications across our entire company – with our members, our employees, and our providers. Each of these groups has the potential to go paperless, and we continue to strive to convert anything that is paper-based to digital, all while carefully protecting members’ data and closely following policies set by regulatory bodies who govern our services,” said Vivian.
Vivian continued, “Over the past three years, our paperless initiative has grown by 13%, more than double our goal. We are delighted to be on track to reach 80% of our eligible members going paperless by the end of 2023.”
Blue Shield’s convenient, easy-to-use mobile app has been a key driver of the paperless initiative. Once a member with Blue Shield of California insurance downloads the mobile app or registers on the online portal, they opt to go paperless. This includes monthly bills, explanation of benefits letters and evidence of coverage letters. After a member opts in for paperless communications by registering on the app or online portal, this is changed back to paper communications only 0.3% of the time.
With approximately 4,800,000 members, the savings add up quickly. Vivian estimates that for every 1% converted to paperless, Blue Shield saves about $2 million in operational costs per year.
“What motivates me the most is knowing that every dollar that we save, we repurpose to better serve our members. Sending communications digitally removes the emissions from postal trucks and the cost to recycle paper! Less gas equals less pollution, so our members can breathe cleaner air while enjoying the outdoors.”
Going digital has an incredible impact on the environment. Our current state of paperless communications saves 25,600 trees* per year. In terms of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, that’s the equivalent of taking 2,291 gas-powered cars* off the road for a year.
You can do your part to help Blue Shield become paperless by downloading the Blue Shield of California mobile app and registering on the online portal. If you’re interested in becoming a Blue Shield of California member, look into our health insurance plans, and if you’d like to help us transform health care, please review our career opportunities.
*Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator Version 4.0. and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. For more information visit www.papercalculator.org and www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator.