What is the BCBS Health Index?
The Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index quantifies over 390 different health conditions to identify which diseases and conditions most affect Americans' longevity and quality of life. It is powered by annual data from more than 43 million BCBS members, commercially insured Americans.
BCBS companies are committed to improving Americans' health by providing data-driven insights to policymakers, community leaders, healthcare professional and business leaders. The BCBS Health Index informs national and local discussions about how to improve U.S. health, health policy and healthcare practice.
Read our BCBS Health Index Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the BCBS Health Index's methodology.
National BCBS Health Index score = 92.7 (2021)
This means Americans lived at 92.7% of their optimal health in 2021.
The BCBS Health Index assigns U.S. populations a score between 0 and 100. A score of ‘100’ represents optimal health – a population's potential lifespan, absent of any health conditions and increased risk of death. The higher the score, the closer a population is to achieving optimal health, the best health. The lower the score, the more a population has been adversely impacted by certain health conditions.
Conditions Impacting Optimal Health
The presence of health conditions leads to poorer health. The BCBS Health Index measures the impact of health conditions by subtracting a population’s Health Index score from the optimum health score of 100. A score of 100 is possible if the population has zero health conditions. For example, if a population has a Health Index score of 90 (meaning it is living at 90% of its optimal health), the impact of health conditions is 10%, a subtraction of 10 due to the impact of identified physical and behavioral health conditions (or 100 – 90). Addressing the health conditions that are impacting our communities could add years to a population’s healthy life.
Measuring Specific Conditions that Affect Health
A condition's impact is the amount it reduces health for a population, accounting for both prevalence and severity. Health conditions drive the gap between optimal health and a health index score for a population.
Comparing Health Across the Nation
National Health Index
The interactive BCBS Health Index map enables users to compare relative healthiness within and across U.S. geographic areas.
You can use the tool to:
- View Health Index scores by state or county
- Identify top 10 health conditions impacting a state or county
- Compare Health Index scores and the top 10 health conditions by age or gender
The BCBS Health Index is informed by de-identified data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Axis®, the powerful BCBS national data repository. 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 define condition categories and measure their disabling affects.
The BCBS Health Index is derived from the claims data of more than 43 million BCBS commercially insured members per year, 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 BCBS Health Index results serve as a compelling proxy measure of a state or county’s population health more broadly.
The BCBS Health Index has two key defining factors: 1) It is derived from actual healthcare experiences (i.e., medical and pharmacy claims) that are unique to individuals rather than general population statistics and self-reported survey data; 2) It considers more than 390 health condition categories affecting Americans. 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.
A Health Index score is calculated for each of the >40M BCBS commercially insured members based on an estimated reduction in lifespan and presence of any of the 390 health conditions captured in the claims data. The individual Health Index scores are aggregated to create one score that represents the average health of Americans across the U.S. This score can be viewed at a variety of geographic and demographic levels.