For decades, Blue Cross Blue Shield has been a trusted name, leader and innovator in health care. Collectively, one in every three Americans has benefited from Blue Cross’ extensive network of 36 Blues plans across the nation, with each making a significant impact on its members and surrounding communities. In fact, Blue Cross plans contributed a combined total of $382 million to community health initiatives in 2018, according to the latest Health of America Community Investment Report. These programs help enable people to live healthier and address the affordability, accessibility and social determinants of health throughout the U.S. with disaster relief efforts, bike share initiatives, mobile food banks, safety net clinics, research grants and school-based food programs, among so many others. For our part, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan invested nearly $93 million in community health programs in 2018 to increase access to health care, improve the quality of care, support health care advancements and address the opioid epidemic, as well as a variety of related objectives. All these initiatives help us continue to drive positive change for our members and their communities, but improving children’s health is an ongoing commitment we’re especially passionate about. In partnership with the United Fresh Start Association, BCBSM worked to combat childhood obesity by funding the installation of 20 salad bars in 19 Michigan schools. Made possible by the nationwide Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which encourages kids to make better food choices, the efforts provided more than 6,000 students with daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We know these additions will have a lasting impact on students as research shows salad bars are the most effective school-based intervention tool for increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. The program also helps support the nutritional guidelines established by the National School Lunch Program to ensure kids are given healthy food options. And since 2009, our Building Healthy Communities program has reached more than 750 schools and 340,000 students to help instill healthy habits in Michigan’s youth that they can carry into adulthood. Another investment we’re proud of is the Michigan Health Endowment Fund—a philanthropic foundation dedicated to improving the lives of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents. As part of our nonprofit mutual status, BCBSM will pay $1.56 billion to The Health Fund over an 18-year period, with $85 million paid last year alone and a current total investment of more than $355 million since 2014. The fund helps subsidize health programs related to behavioral health, infant mortality, healthy aging, technology enhancements, Medigap, foodborne illness prevention and more for both children and seniors. A strong, unwavering commitment to community and investing in a healthier future for residents. That’s the foundation of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and all Blues plans across the country. To learn more about how BCBSM is working toward a healthier Michigan, visit www.mibluesperspectives.com. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America Community Investment Report, visit https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america.
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