A Comprehensive Measure of America’s Health

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index is a unique measurement of the state of America’s health powered by data from more than 40 million of our members. This first-of-its-kind resource identifies the health conditions with the greatest impact on commercially-insured Americans.

How the BCBS Health Index Is Calculated

The BCBS Health Index measures the impact of more than 200 common diseases and conditions on overall health and wellness by assigning each county in the United States a health metric between 0 and 1, designating the proportion of optimal health reached by the county’s population. For example, a measurement of .9 indicates that, on average, the population of a county is living at 90% of its optimal health. In other words, the county population could gain up to 10% in healthy lifespan by addressing the top health conditions impacting their area.

Measurement—The Foundation for Improvement

The BCBS Health Index was designed to support national and local discussions about how to improve American health policy and practice. It is part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ commitment to improving the health of America by uniting policymakers, community leaders, healthcare professionals and business leaders around data-driven insights to spark real change. It provides a better understanding about which diseases and conditions most greatly affect Americans’ overall quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “optimal health”?

Optimal health is the number of years a person could live if he or she did not experience the disability and increased risk of death associated with adverse health conditions. Disability refers to the reduced quality of life associated with each of the more than 200 condition categories, and its impact on health leverages a widely accepted calculation created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

What data is used in the BCBS Health Index and how was it constructed?

The BCBS Health Index is informed by de-identified data from BCBS Axis®, our industry-leading data capability. It is also a result of collaboration with Blue Health Intelligence®, which provided analytical support, and consultation with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington in Seattle, that helped BCBS in defining condition categories and measuring their disabling affects.

Does the Index include data from Medicaid and Medicare?

The BCBS Health Index is derived from the claims data of more than 40 million BCBS members, with all identifying information removed. There are plans to integrate data from Medicare and other government programs over time as we continue to advance this new health measurement. Despite its focus on the commercially insured population, the Index results serve as a compelling proxy measure of a county’s population health more broadly.

How is the BCBS Health Index different from other population health measurements?

The BCBS Health Index has two key defining factors: 1) It is derived from actual healthcare experiences (i.e. medical claims) that are unique to individuals rather than general population statistics and self-reported survey data; 2) It considers more than 200 health condition categories. The BCBS Health Index brings a unique contribution to other available health data by further informing where to focus efforts and resources to improve the overall health of America.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.