2020 was a landmark year for our society and for Blue KC. Together, we have navigated a global pandemic, a racial justice movement and an election. We have homeschooled our children, taken up new hobbies and tasked ourselves with home renovation projects. Some have lost their jobs, battled the coronavirus and had to say goodbye to friends and family. It is without a doubt that we can all individually reflect on both highs and lows of the year as we prepare to close the chapter of 2020.
As we wrap the year here at Blue KC, our team is proud to reflect on the progress we have made toward helping the Kansas City community become a safer, happier and healthier place to live. Here are a few ways Blue KC supported our members and the greater Kansas City community.
The global impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had in 2020 is not something that could have been predicted. At the start of the year, our organization and community were still celebrating our championship football win and were focused on rolling out new company initiatives that had been planned for months. But when the pandemic did hit, we responded quickly to prioritize the health of our members. In mid-March, Blue KC announced it would cover COVID-19 testing as well as 24/7 access to virtual care. We also waived all member cost sharing and copayments for inpatient hospital admissions due to COVID-19.
While member coverage was a priority, our response was not limited to testing and cost-sharing. Here are a few ways we as a hometown organization rallied to help the Kansas City community we love:
- We committed nearly $18 million in financial relief to support employer groups, members and providers experiencing unexpected financial hardships due to the pandemic.
- We partnered with the Kansas City Royals to create the Royals Respond Fund, which supports Kansas City-area nonprofits who care for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- We collaborated with MeMD to provide Kansas City community members without health insurance access to online care for common illnesses and injuries.
- We worked with several local organizations to launch the #GratefulKC and #StayHomeKC campaigns, which called for Kansas Citians to share their support for frontline workers on social media.
- We partnered with The Battle Within to provide Kansas City healthcare providers, first responders and military veterans with cost-free virtual or in-person behavioral healthcare through the Frontline Therapy Network.
As we continue to manage the spread of COVID-19 into 2021, we will provide as much support as we can to our members, first responders and the Kansas City community. We look forward to providing wide-range vaccine access to Kansas Citians and to helping get our community back on track in other ways, too. Please continue to be on the lookout for vaccine distribution in our area on BlueKC.com, The Blueprint and across our social media platforms.
Introduction of Mindful by Blue KC
In 2019, our leadership team identified behavioral health as a focus area for Blue KC. When we examined member data, we discovered more than 50 percent of members had a behavioral health condition and less than half of those individuals were seeking treatment. This finding kickstarted an educational series on behavioral health and, more importantly, the development of a new service offering. In mid-2020, amid the global pandemic, we launched a new and enhanced behavioral health program called Mindful by Blue KC. Mindful by Blue KC is readily accessible and available to all members now. At its core, the offering is a commitment Blue KC has made to cover the health of the whole person.
There are many different aspects of Mindful by Blue KC, but here are three highlights rolled out as a part of the launch this year that are worth noting:
- Mindful Advocates – Mindful by Blue KC starts with Mindful Advocates, licensed behavioral health clinicians who are always just a call away and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mindful Advocates are trained to match members to providers or services and guide care plans. They are a single point of contact for listening, navigating care, crisis management, benefits guidance, connecting and follow-ups.
- Online Therapy – Virtual care isn’t just for your physical wellbeing. Through Mindful by Blue KC, our members now have access to text or schedule live chats as well as phone and video sessions. This is intended for short-term therapy needs and is offered as part of the member’s Well-Being Resources which includes three sessions, at no cost, to help with conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress. Following these sessions, you can work with a Mindful Advocate to identify a more permanent resource using your Blue KC coverage.
- Self-Guided Tools – Interactive and individually tailored program designed to help members improve and maintain overall well-being and resilience while supporting the physical and spiritual aspects of whole-person health.
To learn more about these resources and offering, visit MindfulBlueKC.com.
Blue KC Rejoins the ACA Marketplace
The decision to enter the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace was a conversation Blue KC was having before the pandemic struck. Once the COVID-19 crisis really took hold of our society and local community with healthcare needs and unemployment rates rising, we quickly realized that the need for affordable, accessible care in the Kansas City region had never been greater. We recognized that the best way to support Kansas Citians and keep our city as healthy as possible was to finalize our decision and participate in the Affordable Care Act individual marketplace to help expand access to care to as many Kansas Citians as we could. Through the ACA marketplace, residents in our metro counties now have access to Spira Care and all members have access to virtual care, Mindful by Blue KC and more. Learn more about our decision to rejoin the ACA.
As we close out this unprecedented year, we want to recognize every Blue KC employee for their hard work and dedication. In Spring 2020, our members ranked Blue KC no. 1 in overall customer satisfaction among health plans in the Heartland region in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan While many of us managed a new work-life balance that involved added tasks like childcare and virtual learning, we still showed up every day for our members and for the Kansas City community. We can guarantee this value and prioritization of our members will continue into 2021 and beyond.
Keep yourselves and your families safe through the holiday season by continuing to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing as much as possible. 2021 is a new year and while there is a lot of work to be done to get Kansas City and the rest of our nation back on track, here at Blue KC we are dedicated to working tirelessly on behalf of our members and the community to do so.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Blue KC team!