Seventy-seven years. You get to know a place after all that time. You get to know people and the places they live. You want to give back, to ensure your friends and neighbors have a healthy future. From our founding in 1939 to today, we at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan have focused on meeting the health needs of people everywhere in Michigan. We do this by offering health coverage to people in every Michigan zip code, and working with doctors and hospitals everywhere to ensure people get access to quality care when they need it. But we also work to ensure that all Michigan residents – even those who aren’t our insurance customers – can benefit from a large, powerful force driven every day by a nonprofit mission to give back. That force is Blue Cross. Our company employs 8,100 people across Michigan. We managed $24 billion in revenue in 2015, and we paid $522 million in taxes and assessments. We pay an average of $58 million per day in benefit claims. It’s a big business. But we still maintain the character of the nonprofit company we’ve always been. Our actions as a company are not driven by the profit motives of stockholders, because we have none. They are driven, instead, by the needs of our members and their communities. Our mission has taken different forms over 77 years, as the needs of people and communities have changed. Today, we give back in ways that promote better health for all the people of Michigan and promote the quality and affordability of health care.
- Blue Cross is the source of revenue for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The Fund’s purpose is to promote better health for the people of Michigan, and protect seniors and the vulnerable. In 2016, for example, the Health Endowment Fund will take over a longstanding Blue Cross role – subsidizing Medicare Supplemental coverage. This will help lower the cost of that coverage for many. So far, Blue Cross has paid $210 million to the Fund – on our way toward fulfilling a $1.56 billion commitment to help generations of Michigan residents.
- We are the single largest private contributor to nonprofit health clinics in communities across Michigan. Our Strengthening the Safety Net grant program has contributed $11 million over 11 years to help 60,000 uninsured people a year access the health services they need, but can’t afford. This helps our insured members, too, by preventing uncompensated care costs in local hospitals which roll up into their insurance premiums.
- Blue Cross also helps our kids grow up healthier. Our Building Healthy Communities program has provided more than $6.5 million in grants to nearly 400 local schools so far, to help kids better adopt healthy habits around diet and exercise. This program, which has grown as partner organizations have come aboard, is one way to address the risk to our people and health care system posed by childhood obesity. If one-third of Michigan kids are statistically overweight and at risk of developing chronic health conditions as they grow up, that’s a threat we all have a stake in solving.
- We are also heavily engaged with doctors and hospitals in work to improve our health care system. Just a handful of programs in our Value Partnerships effort have improved the quality of life for patients and helped avoid $1.5 billion in costs that would otherwise have flowed through people’s insurance premiums.
Statewide access to care. Improving health care quality. Protecting the vulnerable. Helping address the drivers of health care costs proactively to keep insurance costs manageable. All of this work, and much more, is done by design. As a company with 77 years of Michigan legacy behind us, and many more decades of commitment ahead, we know that our members’ interests are served well when their communities are healthy. In short, our mission is about you, and all the people we’ve met along the way who call Michigan home. If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in reading:
- Grant Funding Improves Access to Mental Health Services for Three Rural Northern Michigan Counties
- $535,000 in grants available for Michigan-based safety net organizations to aid uninsured patients coping with mental illness or substance abuse
- Marquette School Making Healthier Choices Through Building Healthy Communities Program