Supporting Communities Through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund
For 82 years, Blue Cross has had one consistent purpose—to help the people of Michigan live healthier lives. Providing high-quality health care is just one of many ways we’re achieving that goal. Supporting vulnerable people in our cities and towns is another.
In 2013, we took steps to become a nonprofit mutual insurer. As part of this transition, enacted by Michigan’s legislature and governor, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund came into being. The Health Fund is an independent, nonprofit philanthropic foundation that works to improve the health and wellness of vulnerable Michigan residents, with a focus on children and older adults BCBSM finances it through payments of millions of dollars annually, with the purpose of improving the health of Michigan residents while reducing the cost of health care.
As the sole patron, Blue Cross committed to paying $1.56 billion over the course of 18 years to the Health Fund. In 2021, we’re committing another $85 million to the fund, bringing the total paid to $610 million so far. With every payment, we help the Health Fund subsidize organizations with the intent of making a positive, measurable impact on the health of vulnerable populations everywhere in Michigan.
Last year, the Health Fund awarded 203 grants, more than ever before, totaling $36 million. This included over $2 million in fast-tracked, rapid response telehealth grants to help care providers continue to serve patients in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has amplified long-standing health challenges and disparities. But our 2020 partners are tackling issues – health access and integration, food insecurity, chronic illness prevention, social isolation and other behavioral health crises – that will be with us after COVID-19 and must be addressed over the longer term,” said Paul Hillegonds, CEO, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, in a year-end report.
Additionally, the Health Fund supports locally driven and statewide programs in these focus areas:
- Behavioral health
- Healthy aging
- Access to healthy food
- Wellness and fitness
- Infant mortality
- Technology enhancements
- Health-related transportation
- Foodborne illness prevention
In 2021, BCBSM will continue to support the Health Fund in promoting the mental and physical wellness of Michigan residents. Through collaboration and responsible stewardship, we will continue our years of work toward a brighter, healthier future.