How Blue Cross Has Evolved Over the Past 20 Years to Benefit Members, Customers

Blues Perspectives

| 3 min read

Two decades ago, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, brought sweeping changes to the health care landscape. To meet the challenges of health care reforms and ensure we could meet the needs of Michiganders for decades to come, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan became a nonprofit mutual insurance company.
Becoming a nonprofit mutual insurance company has allowed us to affirm our continued dedication to Michigan and the communities we serve. We have no shareholders or investors. Our operating margins are small – less than one percent – and health care dollars go back into health care. We pay taxes, and we give back millions of dollars every year in grants to community organizations. It also allowed us to be prepared for situations we could have never planned for – including the COVID-19 pandemic and a groundbreaking affiliation with another Blues plan.
Becoming a nonprofit mutual insurer has also allowed us to grow and greatly diversify our business in the past two decades – which is essential to supporting the core mission of Blue Cross; providing affordable health insurance products that provide access to outstanding care.
Now, the BCBSM enterprise includes companies providing specialty benefits offering accident and hospital recovery insurance, critical illness insurance, final expense and term life insurance, as well as long-term care insurance. Our portfolio also includes a health care technology company that offers claims processing, customer service and provider data management, as well as a nationally recognized company whose affiliated brands provide specialty and workers’ compensation insurance solutions across the U.S.
By expanding our business interests beyond health insurance, we are better positioned to manage the unexpected: whether it’s turbulence in the economy, changes in policies or the unprecedented – like the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, our broad business portfolio allowed us to quickly mobilize to help health care providers: advancing payments to doctors and hospitals to fund innovative, life-saving solutions when they were needed most.
We’re also better positioned to invest in our core health plans – funding innovative solutions to remove barriers for our members to access health care, like digital tools and virtual care solutions.
In 2023, we finalized an affiliation agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. This partnership allows us to share information technology, expertise and operational resources to reduce the cost of future investments. It’s the next step in our evolution and builds a path for future collaborations in the years ahead.
Without the business decision in 2014 to become a nonprofit mutual, this affiliation would have never been possible. For 84 years, we’ve put our members and customers first – and that priority continues to guide our decisions as we prepare to tackle the challenges of the health care marketplace of the future.

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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association