Ensuring Access to Care
Even before Massachusetts public officials declared a COVID-19 State of Emergency, we launched multiple initiatives designed to ensure our members could get the care they needed, when they needed it.
We are here for you
“Having Blue Cross jump in and cover all of my COVID-related costs was wonderful. I cried tears of joy when I heard that.”
The pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for our nearly 3 million members, and we were determined to make sure they didn’t have to worry about financial or administrative barriers if they got sick. We covered telehealth services at no cost to members, facilitated early refills of prescriptions as needed and waived cost-sharing for all medically necessary COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and treatment so our members could get well without out-of-pocket expenses.
When doctors’ offices were forced to cancel in-person appointments at the outset of the pandemic, we were well prepared to facilitate a massive shift to telehealth care. We have offered remote medical and mental health visits via Well Connection since 2015, and during the public health emergency, we waived patient cost-sharing for visits by video or phone, and reimbursed clinicians for telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits.
Outreach to our most vulnerable members
Using our advanced data and analytics capabilities, we developed a COVID-19 Risk Index to identify members living in communities more likely to have a higher risk of severe infection and hospitalization. With this new tool, our nurse case managers were able to prioritize their outreach efforts, and check in on more than 31,000 of our most vulnerable members. How were they feeling? Did they understand the precautions they should take? Did they have enough help at home? Did they know what to do if they experienced symptoms?
Offering premium relief for employer customers and their employees
As many employers struggled amid historic economic pressures, we extended grace periods for customers having difficulty paying premiums. We also provided more than $100 million in premium refunds and relief to our fully insured employer customers and to members who pay premiums for individual, non-group, Medex or Medicare Advantage coverage, and issued $15 million in rebates to our Dental Blue customers. In addition, we drew upon our deep data and analytics capacity to help our accounts and broker and consultant partners understand the impact of the pandemic on employees’ use of the health care system.
We were inspired by the spirit of our state, never stronger than when faced with adversity, as seen in the video here.
We are parents and children, neighbors and friends.
We are young and we are wise.
We are tried, and we are true.
We are first to the front, and the last to sleep.
We go the extra mile so that mile helps millions.
We are a community of fighters and leaders, driven by compassion, strength and the belief that we can get through anything.
Accountable not just to ourselves, but one another. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, we are honored to be your namesake. We’re committed to do everything we can so you can stay strong for your family and the community.
We’ll fight this the way we always do, because together we are mighty Massachusetts.
Helping our employees stand strong for our members and accounts
Our company continued to operate at the highest level even as more than 95% of our employees shifted to remote work under challenging circumstances. We enhanced employee programs, communications and benefits to meet new needs. We recognized the challenges of working parents and those caring for elders by expanding our back-up childcare and adult/eldercare benefits. To promote the mental health of employees and their family members, we hosted biweekly webinars with our in-house mental health experts and introduced an online mental health program. To help employees navigate financial questions or concerns related to COVID-19, we offered new educational resources and created an employee financial assistance fund. Employees also received two additional personal days, and in recognition of the need for time off for mental health, our company sick time policy is now a “wellness time” policy. All employees also were given a one-time stipend to make their work-at-home environment more comfortable and effective. Our Employee Assistance Program continues to provide confidential, professional counseling.