When life-saving vaccines became available, we mobilized every part of our company to make sure our members and neighbors got access — with clinical expertise, personalized outreach to members, trusted and timely communication, and support for front-line community not-for-profits.
The pandemic has taken a devastating toll, worldwide and here at home.
So when life-saving vaccines became available, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts acted quickly to ensure our members and neighbors had access to vaccination.
We support community outreach in partnership with The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, community health centers, local non-profits and unions, businesses and community leaders, including faith leaders.
We have sponsored dozens of vaccination clinics across Massachusetts, in hard-hit neighborhoods, at schools, even on trains.
We help our neighbors seeking transportation to vaccination sites. Free ride sharing, free BlueBike rides.
We reach out to our members. We pay for their vaccinations and we provided clear, trusted and accessible information to all.
There may be a long road ahead, but we will keep doing our part to end this pandemic.
More than 1 in 3 Blue Cross members have had a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis. In 2021 we have waived cost shares and paid nearly $590 million for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Reaching out to vulnerable members
“People expect their health plan to pay their claims and answer questions about their benefits. During the pandemic, we wanted to go beyond that. We want members to know we are using all of the capabilities we have to keep them healthy during these challenging times.” - said Himanshu Arora, Blue Cross’ chief data and analytics officer.
To support our higher-risk members – those over 65, those with two or more diseases or medical conditions, or those living in communities with high proportions of unvaccinated residents – our team of care management nurses reached out to members by phone and email with information about vaccine eligibility, where to get shots, transportation options and other resources. And thanks to a groundbreaking partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, our team created sophisticated new data systems to identify “hot spots” with high numbers of unvaccinated residents. That allowed us to expand outreach and communication to our members and the community at large.
Partnering in a historic public health effort
Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic required extraordinary collaboration and coordination. We are proud we could draw upon our longstanding partnerships with the medical community, public agencies and community nonprofits to maximize our impact.
“Blue Cross brought together clinical leaders to discuss ideas, updates and strategies related to COVID-19 and vaccine distribution. This was an invaluable experience. I’ve found Blue Cross to be passionate about the wellbeing of their membership, and they keep health equity a priority as they navigate and manage the pandemic.”
Dr. Simone Wildes
An infectious disease specialist at South Shore Health
In the early stages of vaccine distribution, we brought together clinical leaders to address vaccine availability, communications challenges, and best practices related to overcoming vaccine hesitancy. At the same time, we began consulting with not-for-profits that support underserved communities. Guided by these collaborations, we invested $1 million in community-based COVID-19 vaccine efforts. Our grants included support for free transportation to vaccination sites; initiatives by community health centers to help their patients overcome barriers to vaccine acceptance and access; block-by-block outreach in hard-hit city neighborhoods; and vaccine clinics and educational outreach in immigrant communities.
Providing trusted, timely information
In a crisis, truth is a vital tool. We developed new communications tools to ensure our members, employer customers and the general public got the credible information they needed amid the volatile developments of the pandemic. Our online Coronavirus Resource Center serves as a comprehensive source of authoritative information on COVID-19 vaccination, benefits and coverage, and more. We broadcast more than 130 free webinars to thousands of employers across the country, featuring clinical, legal and other experts. We also developed a COVID-19 Information page for 40,000 providers to support clinicians working on the front line to care for patients.
Our health news service, Coverage, published more than 150 original articles and videos. We sent 3.9 million emails and 125,000 texts to help members understand key developments, find testing locations, and plan vaccination appointments. We also reached the public with health guidance and vaccination resources through more than 217 social media posts.
Helping our employees stand strong
As the pandemic stretched into its second year, our employees continued to ensure that our members got access to the care they needed. To support our employees’ wellbeing at work and home, we enhanced our strong benefits package with new offerings including subsidized back-up child and elder care support, virtual tutoring, and personal financial coaching and advising.
We helped address the mental health concerns of employees and family members with biweekly webinars featuring our in-house psychiatrists, and online cognitive behavioral coaching through Learn to Live. And to make life a little easier for working families, our cafeterias served up free weekly meal kits with ingredients for a dinner for four — more than 125,000 meals since the start of the pandemic. Knowing our employees provide best-in-class service wherever they are, we are offering flexibility for maximum work-life balance: more than half our company is opting to continue working from home.