Good health. It’s arguably the most valuable asset in the world - and something that is regularly unappreciated until it’s lost. When we are in good health, we have the freedom to enjoy the rest of life’s pleasures. And when our good health falters, we often feel powerless. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have the power to fight that feeling – the Power of Blue. The Power of Blue is our collective ability to make a difference in the health of the communities we serve. That means providing access to quality and affordable healthcare for one in three Americans, but it also means leading the way to meet the larger healthcare challenges that face our communities. Across the country, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the 37 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are united in our quest to build healthier communities – and ultimately, a healthier America – so that every person can experience good health. A collection of these programs is detailed in the new 2013 Investing in America’s Health report, our annual showcase of the Power of Blue at work. The report brings to life examples of how the Blues are making a difference in the lives of Americans with the programs we develop and fund. In 2013, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies demonstrated this commitment by collectively investing more than $363 million to help address some of our nation’s most pressing healthcare challenges. Like America, those challenges are wide-ranging and diverse. But with local roots in every community, the Blue System is uniquely positioned to understand community needs in a way only a neighbor can, and address them accordingly. Whether that means a program that ensures children have a healthy breakfast at school, interpreted enrollment meetings to help non-English speakers navigate the healthcare system, or collaborating with local hospitals to reduce instances of hospital acquired infections, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are developing and funding programs that make a lasting impact on our communities. Here’s a preview of the programs we’ll be featuring throughout the year in our Power of Blue blog series. • Improving Access to Healthcare - In an effort to ensure Americans have access to physicians, nurses, hospitals and other healthcare facilities wherever they live, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are investing in education and development programs for America’s healthcare workforce. We’re also forming partnerships with local hospitals and colleges that focus on patient-centered primary care, address medically underserved areas, and reach patients of all cultural and economic backgrounds. • Improving Healthcare Quality and Affordability - Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are leading the healthcare industry in a shift toward programs that provide incentives for better health outcomes for patients, while reducing costly duplication and waste. More than 24 million members are in 350 locally tailored programs that reward doctors for better coordinated care and improved health outcomes. • Enabling Healthier Living - Chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths among Americans each year, and many of these diseases are preventable. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have developed programs that engage members to take steps to live healthier lives, and reduce the burden of chronic disease on patients, their families and their neighborhoods. • Supporting Communities - Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies work closely with local chapters of national organizations like the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Red Cross and more. We also devoted 370,361 hours of employee volunteer efforts to things like playground builds, community gardening, school mentoring and blood donations, and $8.9 million in employee donations. Check back throughout the year for more examples of the Power of Blue at work, or download the full Investing in America’s Health report.