2023 Year in Review

senior male on a video chat with a doctor while checking his blood pressure with a device

The past year illustrated our continued commitment to innovation, expansion, and enhanced access for our members, employers, and providers. By adding new virtual health care capabilities to our portfolio and broadening our reach in Pennsylvania, we’re making it easier for people to get the equitable, high-quality care they need and deserve. Explore some of the many achievements for Highmark, Inc. in 2023.

Enhanced access to behavioral health services

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated the need for and utilization of telehealth in 2020 and 2021. In fact, in 2020 the Highmark care network saw a 3600% increase in telehealth visits compared to 2019. About 40% of these claims were for mental health care.

“We saw a need to give people faster, easier access to behavioral health services,” explains Tom Doran, President of Highmark Health Plan. “We needed to meet people where they were at and deliver care at a time and place that worked for them.” 

Highmark’s collaboration with Spring Health provided the solution. Starting in 2024, the collaboration will enhance access to behavioral health services for members by 40%. The new offerings on the digital platform, Highmark’s Mental Well-Being1, include expanded teleheatlh capabilities such as virtual visits and more providers offering in-person visits. 

“One unique feature is the digital assessment on the front end of this platform with provider-matching capabilities,” explains Doran. “This helps people find a provider they’re comfortable with.” For example, users can select providers who have experience with the LGBTQ+ community and gender-affirming care. Or they can choose providers with specialized expertise in depression, postpartum care, or divorce. It’s just one more way we’re tailoring experiences to meet our members’ needs and preferences.

Virtual physical care at your fingertips

Our innovations in telehealth continued in 2023 when we saw a huge increase in utilization of our virtual physical care program, powered by Sword. Launched in 2022, Highmark’s collaboration with Sword2 for ASO gave our members a tech-enabled physical care solution. In 2024, access to Sword will expand to fully insured. “Over 10,000 members used this service in 2023,” says Doran. “People are finding relief from pain, avoiding surgery, and recovering from surgery — all from the comfort and privacy of home.”

Extended reach into Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania

This year, we laid the groundwork for an exciting expansion of our footprint into Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania. Beginning in 2024, Highmark Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield and its affiliate health plans will offer a full range of services to our markets in Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties. These services include our first-ever offering of Affordable Care Act (ACA) small-group and large-group products in the Philadelphia region, as well as Medicare Advantage products slated for 2025.

Highmark has always had a statewide presence in Pennsylvania, but we are looking forward to further strategic growth. “This expansion is a huge opportunity to reach nearly 4.2 million potential new members,” says Doran. And many of those potential members will qualify for subsidies or tax credits with ACA plans, so coverage becomes more affordable. “It’s all about providing everyone — consumers, employers and providers — with more choices and better access.”

Diversified solutions for every business need

We have a long and successful history in southeastern Pennsylvania through our diverse portfolio of businesses including a dental insurer and a stop-loss insurer. 

“Both of these nationwide businesses have roots here in Pennsylvania and a strong presence in the Philadelphia market,” says Doran. “The brands are already recognized and trusted by people in that region. But our new partnerships in southeastern Pennsylvania mean everyone enjoys a more seamless, integrated experience.”

What’s on the horizon for 2024?

Our strategic priorities for the upcoming year will include:

  • New virtual care solutions, such as at-home biometric devices.
  • Enhanced telehealth services for primary care, pediatrics, and dermatology.
  • Continued focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion through progressive benefits.
  • Improved accessibility and lowered costs for members.

Find a plan that fits your business needs

Talk to your client manager today and we’ll help you find the right health plan for your company. 

1Mental Well-Being is offered by your health plan and powered by Spring Health. Spring Health is an independent company that provides mental health care services through its agents. Spring Health does not provide Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield products or services. Spring Health is solely responsible for their mental health care services.

2Sword Health is an independent company that provides wellness services for your health plan. Sword Health, Inc. does not provide health care services. Sword Health Professionals provides its services through a group of independently owned professional practices consisting of Sword Health Care Providers, P.A., Sword Health Care Providers of NJ, P.C., and Sword Health Care Physical Therapy Providers of CA, P.C.