COVID-19 Response

We Are Here For You.COVID-19 Response

Elderly woman greets a virtual call on her tablet

When the pandemic hit, Blue KC responded quickly to make changes to ensure the health of our members, the good of our community and the safety of our employees.

Ensuring Member Care

In response to the pandemic, in mid-March, Blue KC announced all member cost sharing and copayments for inpatient hospital admissions due to COVID-19 would be waived. In addition to this expanded coverage, we took additional measures to assist our members and providers through this unprecedented time, including:

  • Waived cost sharing for COVID-19 testing including the related office visit and related services.
  • Waived early medication 30-day refill limits.
  • Expanded access to in-network telehealth for all covered services and no member cost sharing for virtual office visits and behavioral health therapy.

We also enhanced our telehealth offerings to support members’ health and wellbeing when being in crowded public areas was not only anxiety producing but could be dangerous. Members could use the Blue KC app for virtual care visits or connect with in-network providers for virtual, telephone, email or text visits for medical services and behavioral health therapy at no cost.

In addition, employees throughout the company worked on solutions to address member issues that increased as a result of the pandemic. As an example, the Community Health Team worked with Mid America Regional Council’s Community Health Workers (CHWs) to build life-saving programs for members directly affected by COVID-19.

In less than two months, CHWs checked in on 670 COVID-positive members, screened 262 members for social needs, and built plans of care with 52 members who needed additional support. Addressing complex social needs, they connected 19 families with home-delivered meals, referred eight families to Nurse Case Management, and helped 51 members get help from Mindful Advocates. CHWs also assisted members by helping them avoid utility shut-offs and in finding primary care providers.

Mother helps her toddler put a mask on

Helping Our Friends and Neighbors

Here are a few ways Blue KC, as a hometown organization, rallied to help the Kansas City community we love:

Keeping Employees Safe

On March 16, 2020, more than 1,000 Blue KC employees started working from home full time. Most needed new setups including computers, chairs, office supplies and other incidentals to be successful. In addition, communication needs for the company changed overnight.

In response, Blue KC leadership created a cross-functional task force to ensure business needs continued to be met and new technologies were deployed to keep employees engaged and focused on our members.

Scott McAdams, Senior Vice President and Chief Audit, Compliance and Risk Officer, led the task force and credits the dedication of all employees and the task force’s hard work with the quick and successful transition. “The culture of Blue KC stood out as a highlight as we all worked together to support one another and ensure we were meeting the needs of our members and customers. Nearly 97 percent of Blue KC employees were able to work from home with limited disruption to core business activities, systems or customer experience,” he said.

Internal communications were also implemented to ensure all employees felt connected to their teams, the company and our members. In all, more than 200 all-employee emails were sent over the course of the year. Seventy-six videos, many featuring executive leadership, were made and distributed on a regular basis to foster a sense of human connection. Employees were able to retain a sense of the culture that is so important to keeping members at the core of everything we do in a time when it could easily have been lost.

“We increased the creation and distribution of internal videos and emails by nearly 300 percent to ensure we were engaging and informing employees while remote,” said Kim White, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. “Keeping employees engaged was instrumental to ensuring our standards for customer experience remained high. While everything around us was changing, our employees worked to ensure their commitment to our members remained the same.”

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