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BCBS Health Index

Published March 6, 2019
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What is the BCBS Health Index?

The Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index quantifies over 200 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 41 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. 

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National BCBS Health Index score = 91.5 (2016)

This means Americans lived at 91.5% of their optimal health in 2016.

How to Measure Optimal Health

Optimal Health

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 disability and increased risk of death. The higher the score, the closer a population is to achieving optimal health. The lower the score, the more a population has been adversely impacted by certain health conditions.

BCBS Health Index Map

Conditions Impacting Optimal Health

The presence of health conditions leads to adverse 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. 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%  (or 100 – 90).  Addressing the health conditions that are impacting our communities could add years to a population’s  healthy life.

BCBS Health Index Map

Measuring Specific Conditions that Affect Health

Condition Impact

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.

View our interactive BCBSA Health Index map to learn more about which conditions have the greatest impact at the national, state and county level. 

Comparing Health Across the Nation

National Health Index
health index map

 

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

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Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ Item Question
What data are used in the BCBS Health Index and how was the Health Index constructed?
FAQ Item Answer

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.

FAQ Item Question
Does the BCBS Health Index include data from Medicaid and Medicare?
FAQ Item Answer

The BCBS Health Index is derived from the claims data of more than 41 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.

FAQ Item Question
How is the BCBS Health Index different from other population health measurements?
FAQ Item Answer

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 200 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.