Addressing and Mitigating the Social Drivers of Health

Published April 2, 2024

Achieving health equity depends on more than access to quality clinical care. We must also address the social drivers of health (SDOH) that can account for more than 50% of a person’s well-being. Those drivers include lack of access to enough or healthy food, lack of access to transportation and unstable housing. Marginalized populations are more likely to experience some of these harmful social drivers. That is why addressing SDOH is vital for improving health equity.

BCBSA encourages policymakers to address social drivers of health to improve health equity by:

  1. Bolstering the efforts of community-based organizations already engaged in this work;
  2. Fostering public-private partnerships to enhance collaboration;
  3. Ensuring adequate data collection to better target interventions; and
  4. Providing flexibility for health insurers to include SDOH-related benefits.

Read our full set of recommendations for addressing SDOH.

Here’s how one BCBS company is leading the way:

For the community members in Highmark Blue Cross’ service area, the organization has made a $30 million commitment to advance a White House initiative to improve food access and affordability. The health plan will conduct one million screenings for social drivers of health by 2026. It will meet the needs of those who screen positive for food insecurity by 1) delivering medically tailored meals; 2) providing debit cards to those who cannot afford nutritious food; and 3) expanding the reach of charitable organizations, particularly in Appalachia.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independently owned and operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.