Posted by Madeleine Lovette and Marc Lichtenstein
More than 80 years ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield began transforming healthcare by being the first to offer health insurance to Americans. That was just the first chapter in our long history of healthcare transformation and innovation, which continues to this day.
On October 1, the new health insurance marketplaces created by the healthcare reform law opened. These new marketplaces will begin enabling millions of Americans to purchase affordable coverage. Consumers can compare their choices side-by-side and select a plan that best meets their healthcare needs–and their budgets. For many, this will be a transformative experience.
On October 3, Independence Blue Cross and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association are pleased to participate in the National Journal’s “Countdown to Transformation”—a day-long, public conversation among medical professionals, healthcare industry experts, policymakers and others to discuss how we can work together to build a patient-centered healthcare system that rewards higher quality care and reins in costs. As the first to offer Americans health insurance more than 80 years ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield has long been committed to making healthcare coverage accessible and affordable for families nationwide.
Daniel J. Hilferty, President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, which serves residents in Southeastern Pennsylvania, will discuss how Independence Blue Cross–like all of the 37 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies– is forging powerful partnerships with hospitals, doctors, patients and employers. How they’re testing new models of care and providing wellness incentives that make patients healthier and creates a more productive workforce for their region. The Independence Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program alone has produced a reduction in patient hospital admissions and better patient management of chronic conditions, simply by promoting coordination and strengthening patients’ relationships with their doctors.
While we continuously work to expand opportunities to access care as more Americans come into the healthcare system, we also have an obligation to ensure that the care people receive is safe and effective–coordinated to get the best results for patients and to avoid the sort of costly and preventable medical interventions that drive up costs for everyone. This is the next milestone on the way to truly transforming our healthcare system.
Transformative times also create opportunities for Blue Cross Blue Shield to develop new consumer tools, like AskBlue, an online resource that helps you understand your healthcare choices, learn about how insurance works and determine whether you might be eligible for financial assistance to help purchase coverage.
The Blues are excited to share these successes and additional insights that we’ve learned in our efforts to improve care delivery, and we also look forward to hearing our colleagues’ thoughts and ideas.
The Affordable Care Act is a milestone in expanding access to care for Americans, but for The Blues October 1 is not Day 1. It’s one point in time on the continuum of The Blues, in our long history of innovations and transformation in healthcare.