To help remove barriers to care among our 400,000+ members during the pandemic, BCBSRI introduced temporary benefits that helped members access the services they need—with no added worries about cost.
Our priority was to ensure our members have safe, uninterrupted access to high-quality healthcare during this pandemic—whether they needed help for COVID-19 or other health conditions.
We also introduced similar temporary benefits for our Medicare members, including 100% coverage for inpatient care, behavioral health, diagnostic labs and imaging, and select drugs.
For both employers and members, we coordinated with government officials to share up-to-date information regarding coronavirus disease—as well as our temporary benefits—through our Keeping You Well and Well-Informed site.
Volunteering during a pandemic is complicated, but it’s also critically important to Rhode Islanders in need of assistance. BCBSRI held our 9th annual company-wide Blue across Rhode Island volunteer day on Friday, September 25, completing projects at 15 sites across the state while following COVID-19 safety guidelines.
In addition to volunteer support, each project site received a financial contribution of $5,000 to assist with their important work.
The need for safe and affordable homes has never been as critical as it is now, when staying at home is the first line of defense against the spread of COVID-19. But for many Rhode Islanders, this basic need is out of reach or increasingly unstable, a finding reinforced by the data we obtained through the 2019 launch of the RI Life Index, a data source produced in partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health that focuses on the life factors influencing health and well-being.
Many of the 2,100+ Rhode Islanders who responded to both the 2019 and 2020 RI Life Index surveys see access to safe and affordable housing as a significant challenge.
With this information as the backdrop, we redirected the focus of our 2020 BlueAngel Community Health Grant program and awarded $500,000 to nine local organizations committed to improving access to affordable housing. This is in addition to the $200,000 BCBSRI awarded to five housing-related agencies at the end of 2019.
2020 Housing Innovation Award
We were proud to receive this recognition from the Housing Network of Rhode Island.
Since 2015, Recess Rocks in Rhode Island—a partnership between BCBSRI, Playworks, and the Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition—has energized education and increased safe, active, and inclusive play across Rhode Island elementary schools. Within two weeks of school closures, Playworks launched digital services to meet teachers’ needs and fit into schools’ busy schedules, including:
These resources helped educators and families to bring play to every child’s day whether they were attending school remotely or in person.
In the last two years, Oak Street Health, a network of primary care practices for adults on Medicare, has opened four locations in Rhode Island in collaboration with BCBSRI. The fourth location opened in November 2020 in Woonsocket. Through their well care model, Oak Street Health provides in-person, phone, and video visits; a 24/7 support line; transportation to appointments; and preventive care plans.
Passionately leading a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island requires honest input and innovative solutions to longstanding issues such as systemic racism that lead to health inequities. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are integral to our workplace culture and our approach to providing healthcare.
We now have 41 sites certified to provide safe, affirming, and inclusive care to the LGBTQ community.
The keynote speaker for our employee Diversity Week was Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. He is the author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to be an Antiracist.
At our annual all-employee and community meeting, Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, and Austin Frakt, Associate Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, discussed how we can address the great disparities in health and healthcare exacerbated by the pandemic.
With a score of 100%, we were the only Rhode Island company to have received a perfect score on this national measure of LGBTQ workplace equality for the past six years consecutively.
Mental Health America awarded BCBSRI the highest possible designation a company can achieve for our commitment to the mental health and well-being of our employees. We are the first company in Rhode Island to receive a platinum designation.
We were one of two companies headquartered in Rhode Island to receive a top score of 100 on this national benchmarking survey and report on disability workplace equality.
Our financial performance in 2020 allowed us to create a premium relief program of almost $30 million for medical and dental customers. We also contributed $10 million to our donor-advised fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, used for philanthropic investments like our BlueAngel Community Health grants focused on safe and affordable housing. The after-tax net gain of $42 million was driven by several factors: strong enrollment, a final installment of a federal tax refund, and lower-than-expected medical claims during the first half of the year as members deferred non-COVID-19-related care.
For the fourth consecutive year, we have shown positive financial results, allowing us to contribute $42 million into reserves, money we set aside for the protection of all our members to pay future claims.
In 2020, statutory reserves that we held for the protection of our members totaled $416 million at year end.
In 2020, we recorded $1.70 billion in premiums from members (individuals and employers). We also recorded an $8.8 million gain on investment revenue.
From total revenue, $1.40 billion was used for medical and dental claims for our members. This amount accounted for 82.2% of premium revenue collected. The company spent $232.2 million (including premium taxes) on expenses to support the core operations of our business, or 13.6% of premiums. An additional $74.3 million was spent on other expenses, including $33.6 million on assessments required by the Affordable Care Act. The company also recorded a $36.3 million offset to expenses for the final installment of the Federal Tax Refund.
Overall, total revenue stood at just over $1.71 billion, and expenses exceeded $1.67 billion in 2020, resulting in a net gain of $42.4 million.
This formulation represents unaudited results utilizing Statutory Accounting Principles. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association licenses Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to offer certain products and services under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand names. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent organization governed by its own Board of Directors and solely responsible for its own debts and other obligations. Neither the Association nor any other organization using the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand names acts as a guarantor of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s obligations. A copy of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s most recent financial statements is available on request to: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, 500 Exchange Street, Providence, RI 02903.