When 2020 began, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was processing nearly 44,000 claims per business hour on behalf of our members and paying an average of $71 million per day for their care and benefits. It was critical to continue these essential operations during the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout 2020, Blue Cross worked continuously to provide protection and peace of mind to our members. We made sure they could continue to access the care they needed, when they needed it, to stay healthy. Our efforts included:
- Putting nearly $600 million behind additional benefits to address the pandemic
- Returning $21 million in premium credits to members who purchased individual coverage
- Waiving all member copays, deductibles and coinsurance for COVID-19 testing and treatment during 2020
- Covering more than 1.6 million member tests for COVID-19 at a cost exceeding $50 million
- Waiving the cost of COVID-19 treatment through September 2021
- Expanding telehealth services across multiple platforms and waiving $65 million in copays for members during the initial wave of pandemic shutdown
- Increasing access to medications by waiving limits on more than 55,000 early prescription refills
- Enabling free drug delivery with no refill limits on 30-day maintenance prescriptions and no-cost substitutions if drugs were out of stock
- Enabling virtual “discharge visits” to coordinate post-acute care with family members
- Expanding access to dental care with teledentistry
- Answering more than 50,000 COVID-19-related calls from members and their providers
Engaging Members Virtually
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down non-emergency access to hospitals, physician offices and dental offices from March 2020 through early summer – and interrupted normal business operations for employers of all sizes throughout the year. These disruptions affected our members’ access to care and our customers’ ability to engage employees around their health benefit choices. Blue Cross responded by expanding the use of technology to deliver services to members virtually.
With hospitals and physician and dental offices offline, the demand for telehealth services soared in 2020 – and Blue Cross was there to help our members and providers connect virtually. Within a five-week period in 2020, Blue Cross expanded access to telehealth services from 10 percent of primary care and behavioral health providers, to over 80 percent. We also provided no-cost telehealth services members for several months in 2020 – putting nearly $120 million behind more than 1.2 million free telehealth visits to keep members connected to their health.
Virtual Open Enrollment
In addition to supporting members with access to care and resources related directly to COVID-19, Blue Cross also adapted new technologies to meet our customers where they were during the open enrollment period. In addition to launching an all-new, highly personalized approach to support members ahead of their open enrollment month, for the first time, Blue Cross offered virtual open enrollment experiences. These tailored, virtual events afforded members with an easy and convenient way to get the information they needed to help make informed decisions when selecting medical plan benefits to fit their personal needs.
MI Blues Perspectives Blog
On top of meeting our members’ health access needs throughout 2020, Blue Cross was dedicated to providing timely and accurate information about COVID-19. With so much confusion and misinformation about the pandemic circulating throughout the world, Blue Cross worked to keep members informed through the MI Blues Perspectives blog. It included resources and multimedia content that was reviewed each day by our clinical leaders and medical directors. Read the full 2020 Annual Report