Chapter 2: Serve More People
I believe when we are tested by crisis – either as individuals or as organizations – it reveals our character and the values we live by. And our extraordinary Blue Shield of California employees did not blink when faced with the threat COVID-19 posed to them, their families, and our entire company.
Our people demonstrated the values we hold dear – being human, honest, and courageous – and showed immense dedication and commitment to our nonprofit mission to serve our members, especially in times of greatest need.
Putting our members first
We expanded access to telehealth services and made telehealth free of charge for most members, and we waived all costs for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccinations.
We intentionally worked to make our products more affordable for our members in 2021; our average rate increase dropped from a 4.4% increase in 2020 to a 1.8% increase in 2021. This includes a reduction in rates for Individual and Family Plan members on the Covered California exchange.
We also added new products to better meet our members’ health needs, including Family Dental for Individual and Family Plan members, leveraging the largest dental network in California.
To meet the needs of more members, we focused on collaborations, including joining with AAA of Northern California to help our Medicare Supplement members with their transportation and health needs.
Our Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan teamed upwith L.A. Care Health Plan to jointly operate five Community Resource Centers in some of the most densely populated and ethnically diverse communities in Los Angeles. And we expanded community health services by offering free Wi-Fi for telehealth appointments at all our Resource Centers throughout Los Angeles County.
Supporting our communities
Blue Shield Promise also invested over $2 million to support more than 100 community-based and provider partner organizations helping to build healthier communities. These organizations offer programs focusing on health education, mental health awareness, trauma due to violence, and food insecurity.
This was especially important during COVID-19, and Blue Shield Promise provided an additional $100,000 in grants for food distribution during the pandemic, helping more than 5,000 families get the food they needed. While the Community Resource Centers were physically closed due to COVID-19, we continued to serve the community through free virtual programming, and a series of drive-thru food pantries, back-to-school backpack giveaways, and free drive-through flu-shot clinics.
Without a doubt, 2020 was an extraordinary year that brought challenges most of us never imagined. We were able to grow our membership and serve more people in 2020, adding 38,000 members to our overall membership.
And all the while, we continued to meet our strategic goals and lay the foundation to serve even more members in the future.
That’s the true character of our workforce – no matter what challenges arise, we never stop striving to fulfill our mission to ensure all Californians have access to care that is high-quality and affordable. I could not be prouder to be a part of this team.
It’s more important today than ever that everyone has access to care that is high-quality and affordable. And throughout this prolonged public health crisis we’ve all faced, I am inspired by the way our teams continue to meet these challenges and work tirelessly to ensure our members receive the services and care they need without any interruptions.