I have experienced many challenges during my 35-year career at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT), but nothing like what we all went through in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic upended our lives and all of us are still feeling its effects.
What never wavered is our commitment to our members, our employees and fellow Montanans. Everything we do at BCBSMT is guided by a straightforward core purpose: To do everything in our power to stand with our members in sickness and in health.
As the pandemic spread across our state and the country at the beginning of 2020, we mobilized a response with four primary focuses.
To help our members receive the care they needed, we waived member cost-sharing, including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, related to treatment for COVID-19. We also lifted restrictions on early prescription refills, launched a COVID-19 educational website and held a special enrollment period for some employers.
We worked with providers to expand the use and access of telemedicine. This included collaborating with St. Peter’s Health on a telemedicine pilot on the TytoCare platform. More than 6,000 patients, who likely wouldn’t have received care otherwise, were able to connect with a provider.
We contributed $1 million to support community action and health care access across the state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our employees were transitioned to working remotely last March for their safety and health, and for the community’s safety and health.
In addition to our COVID-19 response, we continued striving to make positive impacts on social determinants of health the impact individual and community well-being.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done through The Big Blue Sky InitiativeSM. The latest phase of the project is an anti-bullying campaign. Bullying poses a significant problem throughout Montana. The emotional and physical effects of bullying are well known and can be devastating. Bullying affects everyone —those who are bullied, bullies themselves, and bystanders who observe it.
Our Care Van® program is back on the road in 2021, helping deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to communities across the state. The COVID-19 vaccine will be covered at no cost sharing for in-network and out-of-network as a preventive service during the public health emergency.
For more than 80 years, we have remained committed to serving our members and the communities they live, work, and play in.
Through It All®
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana