Hard times often come with a saving grace, a lesson in what truly matters. At Blue Cross over the past two years, we have learned such lessons, and they will drive our business in the years to come.
First, we have seen again the importance of our role as an anchor in our health care community. We are a not-for-profit health plan that is deeply rooted in Massachusetts, yet dedicated to our members nationwide. For decades, we have closely collaborated with our medical community, state agencies and community organizations. Those strong relationships have proven to be invaluable as we have responded to COVID-19 – from the initial outbreak in 2020, through the vaccine rollout last year, and continuing.
Our longstanding reputation as a health insurer that offers stability and peace of mind has been tested by the pandemic, and it has held strong. More than a third of our members across the country have had a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis and in 2021, we paid more than $590 million for testing and treatment with no out-of-pocket cost for members, so they could focus on getting well and not worry about health care bills. We have reached out personally to hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable members with information on personal safety, testing, vaccination, and medical and social resources. We have supported community organizations as they bring vaccines to neighborhoods especially hard-hit by the virus. And we have been grateful to partner with the brilliant, brave health care workers in our network as they provide exceptional care on the front lines.
Second, we have found our members count on us — more than ever — as a trusted ally as they navigate the health care system. We have introduced new ways to access care, when and where our members need it – including online and at home. We provide service and benefits as unique as our members are, for example, with tools allowing members to find a doctor in their neighborhood, estimate costs for upcoming medical procedures, and chat online with our team. New online partnerships are providing more convenient and affordable options for prescription drugs, mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, diabetes care and more. And new plan options are offering personalized guidance to help our members get the most out of their benefits.
We know how important affordability is to our members and employer customers. Now more than ever, our members need better, cheaper, more convenient ways to get the care they need. And they need an agile, resilient health plan to support them. We are committed to continued innovation and progress this year.
And third, we have confronted the unacceptable consequences of inequity in health care. In 2021, we deepened our longstanding commitment to racial and social justice. We are taking meaningful action, including a $25 million investment to support health care organizations that are working to ensure equity in health care access and quality. We also have focused our charitable investments on organizations working to create more equitable, healthier communities.
Perhaps most important, over the past two years, we have learned from you, our members, employer customers, community partners and clinical partners. As a not-for-profit health insurer, we are accountable to you, not to shareholders. On a personal level, marking my last year as CEO of this company, this report captures my sense of pride in the values we share. We know you want an affordable, high-quality, equitable health care system, and our mission is the pursuit of that goal.
President & CEO