Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Establishes the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute to Reduce the “ZIP Code Effect” on Health

Chicago - The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) today launched the Blue Cross Blue Shield InstituteSM (BCBS Institute), a new subsidiary of BCBSA created to address the social and environmental factors that greatly influence health and health outcomes. 

A first-of-its-kind organization in scope and scale, the BCBS Institute combines a social mission with business innovation and insight to target barriers to health care that can be solved with technology and strategic alliances. With a mission to improve health care access and outcomes, the BCBS Institute will address the “ZIP code effect,” which shines a light on transportation, pharmacy, nutrition and fitness deserts in specific neighborhoods. Through these efforts, the BCBS Institute goes beyond the walls of the traditional provider setting to reach into the daily realities of communities across the country. 

“For some of our members, it can be difficult to get to a physician’s office for treatment, to the pharmacy for much needed medication, to the grocery store for nutritious food or to a safe place to exercise,” said  Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA and chairman of the board of the BCBS Institute. “We want to help lift these burdens for more Americans.”   

“The time is more critical than ever for American business leaders to bring to bear the might and ingenuity of the world’s strongest economy to affect positive change in the health of all Americans,” said Serota. “Serving one in three Americans in nearly every geographic area in the country, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies know all too well that what often dictates health isn’t genetic code, but ZIP code.”

“Conservative estimates show 60 percent of health outcomes are driven by social determinants of health, including lifestyle behaviors and environmental factors,” said Dr. Trent Haywood, BCBSA chief medical officer and president of the BCBS Institute. 

The BCBS Institute leverages powerful data by ZIP code about social determinants of health and brings together the partners best positioned to tailor solutions to meet community needs. In collaboration over the last year with Lyft®, the BCBS Institute has made it possible to dispatch rides for patients via Lyft’s network of drivers.

Addressing Transportation and Pharmacy Deserts

With the launch of the BCBS Institute and partnerships with Lyft, CVS Health® and Walgreens®, the BCBS Institute is addressing transportation and pharmacy deserts in test markets across the country. 

“Lyft is proud to partner with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to address the social determinants of health through the launch of their new Institute,” said John Zimmer, Lyft co-founder and president. “The work we’re doing with BCBSA is critical to our goal of reducing the transportation health care gap by 50 percent in the next two years—and a key part of our mission to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.”

“A growing number of Americans live in areas where medical care is beyond reach, even when they have health insurance,” said Dr. Troyen Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer for CVS Health. “Through working with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, we are committed to addressing issues that are inextricably linked to health outcomes and which are greatly improved when people have access to pharmacies.”
“At Walgreens, we pride ourselves on being a source of care that is both trusted and accessible. This initiative brings greater accessibility to populations in need, and we look forward to bringing our growing range of pharmacy and health services to a larger population,” said Nimesh Jhaveri, vice president, health care services, Walgreens.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country to address the “ZIP code effect” on health 

“With the launch of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, we are building on our record of innovation and commitment to introduce new solutions to improve our members’ access to quality healthcare,” said Daniel Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross.

“The BCBS Institute resonates the value of Blue coverage for members and patients around the country,” said David Holmberg, president and CEO of Highmark Health. “Through the BCBS Institute, we will be forging a path to important and valuable services. As an integrated financing and delivery system in Western Pennsylvania, we not only recognize the challenges some patients face in having access to reliable transportation for medical appointments, but we are in a unique position to provide an enhanced Blue experience to these patients.”

“At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, we seized the opportunity to work with the BCBS Institute,” said Dr. Steve Udvarhelyi, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. “Our providers have often told us about their concern for our mutual customers—their patients—who struggle to keep their appointments and get the care they need to get healthy and stay healthy,” Udvarhelyi said. “One of our chosen providers told us, ‘The Institute has excited everyone at our facility and is the type of innovation we like to see.’”

The BCBS Institute will address nutrition and fitness deserts in 2019.

For additional information regarding the BCBS Institute, please visit

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute

Blue Cross Blue Shield InstituteBlue Cross Blue Shield Institute (BCBS Institute) is the first entity dedicated to addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) at the community level by identifying geographic areas of opportunity and targeting services to improve health within commercially insured markets. The Institute is a subsidiary of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), an independent licensee of BCBSA, and filed as a benefit corporation. CHM Hub® and the CHM Hub proprietary software application are intellectual property owned by Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute. CHM Hub® is a proprietary software application that offers general information, only, in “as is” condition. CHM Hub does not provide medical, legal, or financial advice. For medical issues, check with your healthcare provider. Neither BCBSA nor any Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plan recommends, endorses, warrants, or guarantees, nor are they responsible for damages based on any program, provider, product, service, or community asset whose information may appear on CHM Hub’s website. For details, see our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy available at

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 34 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.