Dan Leopp

CEO Dan Loepp: Here’s How Blue Cross Helps Drive Michigan’s Health and Economy

For 78 years, a healthier Michigan has been our focus at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Created by our communities to serve our communities, we have never wavered from that mission. We are uniquely positioned and purposed to impact the things that people care about most when it comes to health care: cost and quality.

But we also stand as a driving force of our economy, our communities and our culture. The importance of what Blue Cross does for Michigan’s economy was underscored recently by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s “The Health of America Report.” This report highlights trends on affordability and access to health care for all Americans. One of the key findings is the link between population health and vibrant, healthy economies.

Using de-identified aggregate data from 26 million Blue Cross members nationwide, the report found that better health does indeed contribute to positive outcomes in local economies. And likewise, economic growth also leads to healthier populations.

In Michigan, I’m proud to say Blue Cross, like no other organization, impacts both parts of the equation.

The influences of Blue Cross on community health from Marquette to Monroe are fantastic, whether it’s the fact that we have contributed $270 million to the Michigan Health Endowment Fund or $20 million to the nationally lauded MHA Keystone patient safety initiative. Because of our commitment to Michigan residents, our size and our reach, we are the only health plan to offer quality coverage options to residents of all 83 Michigan counties. We are the only health plan that connects with hundreds of thousands of Michigan school children every year with information about healthy diet and exercise habits they can use for a lifetime.

And we are the only health plan that works directly with a network of 142 hospitals and 30,000 physicians across the state to expand access to care, improve health care quality and lower costs. Through an array of partnership initiatives we have worked together to remove $1.5 billion in unnecessary cost while saving thousands of lives in Michigan.

We are proud to be known for those things, and we are also proud to be an economic engine for our state. Last year Blue Cross generated nearly $26 billion in revenue and because of our historical commitment to keeping margins low on health care, nearly 90 cents of every dollar goes back into Michigan’s economy, funding benefits to our customers and members. Each day, we pay more than $50 million in medical and pharmacy claims. That’s more than $2 million every hour. The clear majority of those dollars stay in Michigan.

We are a major employer, providing well-paying jobs to nearly 8,000 Michiganders, and we serve as a catalyst for job creation. For example, over the past 5 years we have spent $1.2 billion with minority business enterprises and women-owned businesses. Consider that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation calculates that every $50,000 spent creates a new job and you’ll see our investment equates to 22,000 jobs since 2012.

In 2011, Blue Cross consolidated its Southeastern Michigan workforce to Downtown Detroit, bringing an additional 3,000 employees from Southfield to the Detroit.

And what we do in Detroit, we are also doing in other great core cities like Grand Rapids, Lansing, Marquette and Traverse City.

As with most things, we make an even bigger impact when our efforts are combined. That is definitely true when it comes to the role of health care in Michigan’s economy. Nearly 600,000 jobs and $35 billion in wages and benefits are directly attributable to the health care industry in Michigan. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is pleased to play a big part in that, driving both a healthier economy and healthy Michigan residents.

Daniel J. Loepp is President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

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