More than 80 years ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield conceived the very idea of health insurance. Ever since, we have provided Americans with high-quality health coverage and led new innovations to transform the health care system.
The ultimate aim? Improving the health of America. This is our responsibility and our privilege, and we strive to improve health not just for the one in three Americans who carry a Blue Cross Blue Shield card, but for all Americans. We also know it’s a challenging goal.
To improve the health of America, we first need to understand the health of America. As the old adage goes, what gets measured, gets done. We believe that. It’s why Blue Cross Blue Shield is committed to a data-driven health care system. It’s why we’ve spent the past decade pulling together claims data and other information from the 36 community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country into Blue Cross Blue Shield Axis®, the industry-leading data capability we can tap for new analysis and insights in health care. And it’s why today we launched the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index is both the culmination of our data efforts and the beginning of our next journey: to measure—and ultimately improve—the health of America. Because, again, what gets measured, gets done. By analyzing de-identified claims data from millions of commercially insured members and exploring the impact of 200 different diseases and conditions, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index provides a first-of-its-kind measure of health for nearly every county in the United States.
It provides tangible evidence of the top five conditions in each community that have the greatest impact on residents’ health. What’s more, an analysis of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index by Moody’s Analytics also found a direct link between healthy people and a healthy economy, with healthier counties having lower unemployment and higher incomes.
With the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index, each community can see its own health index and the conditions affecting local health, and this information can direct necessary local actions to drive improvement. For our part, our 36 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are already at work on locally tailored programs to support patients with the top five national conditions: depression, anxiety and mood disorders; hypertension; diabetes; high cholesterol; and substance use disorders. As we learn more from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index and as we add even more data, we will continue to refine our approach to best promote greater health in the communities we serve.
Today’s launch is an important first step. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index tells us where we are today. And that’s the starting point to understand where we need to go tomorrow. Improving America’s health is a goal that’s bigger than any one of us—and up to every one of us. We all have a role to play, through individual actions, corporate investments and policy initiatives, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index is a valuable catalyst to help us spur change. Together, we can use measurement and data-driven insights to chart the course toward a healthier future for all Americans.
Visit www.bcbs.com/bcbs-health-index to learn more about the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index.
Scott P. Serota is president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Daniel J. Hilferty is president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, and chairman of the BCBSA Board of Directors.