As we prepare to ring in a new year, it is important to reflect on the year prior, both personally and professionally. For Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC), 2019 was a standout year. As an organization, we have made strides in transforming healthcare in Kansas City, while continuing to focus on our goal to lower costs for members and increase the quality of care. We have also been focused on bettering the health of the entire Kansas City community.
This year has been marked with several exciting changes, all focused on keeping members at the center of healthcare. We introduced new programs and reinvigorated others. We also welcomed Erin Stucky into her role as our President and CEO and celebrated the retirement of her predecessor, Danette Wilson.
As we close out the holiday season and approach 2020, here is a look back at a few highlights:
CMS Recognized Blue KC for Outstanding Partnership
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded Blue KC with the inaugural CPC+ Payer of the Year Award for our partnership throughout the first two years of Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+). CPC+ aims to increase access to and improve the quality and efficiency of primary care. CMS chose Blue KC out of 56 commercial and State payers for our outstanding commitment to transforming primary care and aligning with CMS in payment, quality measurement and more.
We are proud of our commitment to primary care and value our longstanding relationships with CPC+ practices in the Kansas City region.
We Enhanced our Medicare Advantage Offerings
We reviewed our current Medicare Advantage plan and evaluated the feedback we received from members. Our goal has always been to design a Medicare Advantage plan that eliminates the confusion often associated with participating in Medicare and to demonstrate our commitment to improving healthcare delivery with a patient-focused care approach.
In 2019, we announced enhanced PPO and HMO plan options ranging in price from $0-49 per month, all of which include a vast network of local doctors and hospitals. We introduced an exciting member rewards program that incentivizes healthy behavior. Thanks to member feedback, we will also be offering a wide range of supplemental benefits, including SilverSneakers® fitness membership, prescription drug coverage, acupuncture and therapeutic massage, non-emergency medical transportation, eye wear and dental allowances, and more.
Diabetes Prevention and Management were Top of Mind
Type 2 diabetes is among the top conditions impacting benefit plan costs for many employers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in three Americans have prediabetes – most of whom don’t know they are on the verge of developing the disease, and without intervention, about half of them will be diagnosed with diabetes in the next five to 10 years. Throughout 2019, we expanded our spectrum of diabetes care services.
We continued to work with Solera Health to offer our Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a preventive care benefit available to eligible Blue KC members. Solera Health teaches a lifestyle change that help participants lose weight and adopt healthy habits. Learn more about Solera.
In October, we announced a deepened partnership with Livongo for diabetes management, a program focused on improving behavior change and health outcomes for prediabetic and diabetic members. The program provides members with a connected blood glucose meter, unlimited test strips, a health coach and real-time data and insights that help to drive behavior change. Learn more about Livongo.
We Committed to a Focus on Behavioral Health
Behavioral health is a term that describes the connection between an individual’s behaviors and the health of their mind and body. Activities that promote behavioral health result in a combined mental and physical well-being. In 2019, we prioritized behavioral health to ensure we offer complete health solutions for our brokers, employers and members.
We also launched a behavioral health education and awareness campaign with a series of posts here on The Blueprint. The educational content focused on What is Behavioral Health,Six Signs of a Behavioral Health Condition and How to Tackle the 3 Barriers to Behavioral Health Care.
Behavioral health will continue to be a priority for Blue KC into 2020 and beyond.
Spira Care Expanded into Wyandotte County
We introduced Spira Care in 2018 to revolutionize primary care. Since then, we have opened six Care Centers across our coverage area in Kansas and Missouri, including our newest Care Center in Wyandotte. Our integrated primary care model is built on the promise of a stress-free member experience that enables stronger relationships with primary care providers and improves patient outcomes, while simplifying the healthcare experience to make it more personal and affordable.
Blue KC members enrolled in Spira Care have access to integrated primary care, behavioral health consultations, health coaching, routine lab draws, and more all in one place at low or no cost. Blue KC continues to evolve the Spira Care offering with the goal of reaching even more members, including the addition of a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) eligible for Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
Our seventh Care Center, in Tiffany Springs, will open in early 2020.
I’m looking forward to what next year will bring for Blue KC as we continue to prioritize our valued members, employers and brokers, and together continue to lead Kansas City forward. Thank you for another fantastic year.