2022 Year in Review

photo of two adults talking to a nurse or medical professional

It was another busy year for Highmark, Inc., as we pursued our goals as a mission-driven health insurance organization. We are committed to delivering value, improving outcomes, and lowering the cost of care. Each achievement in 2022 created an opportunity to serve our member, customer, and provider communities in new and better ways.

Finalized health plan acquisitions

We completed the final steps of integrating our New York affiliate into the Highmark care network. The new entity, Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc., serves Blue Cross Blue Shield members in Western New York and Blue Shield members in Northeastern New York and combine to create the fourth-largest Blue Plan in the nation.

“We understand that all health care is local, so we have plans and products that meet the unique needs of each region,” says Craig Riner, SVP Strategic Marketing and CMO of Diversified Businesses Marketing. “Of course, acquisitions have challenges, and we continue to work through those to bring value and quality to our member, customer and provider experiences.” 

Highmark also completed an acquisition affiliation and integration with another health plan to create Highmark Wholecare. We now have the ability to serve Medicaid and dual Medicaid-Medicare (D-SNP) patients with targeted products that positively impact health and outcomes. 

“This addition means that Highmark now has a health insurance product for everyone, no matter their income level or life stage,” adds Riner. “This is key as government-sponsored health plans keep growing in terms of their presence and scale.”

Focused on social determinants of health

The acquisitions are just part of the story. Highmark and its health plan affiliates are also investing heavily in the communities we serve. We continue to make progress in ensuring health equity by addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) — including access to health care, safety, food, jobs, transportation, and technology. 

“Highmark has created The 80% Project to address social determinants,” says Riner. “We named it as such because 80% of a person’s health and health outcomes are determined by their ZIP code. The Project focuses on the needs of less privileged urban and rural geographies.” 

We are investing in ways to address social determinants with a value-based, outcomes-driven community approach to solving these challenges. “We also want employers to understand that even though their employees have health insurance coverage through work, that doesn’t mean they don’t also have social determinants of health concerns,” Riner emphasizes. 

We believe that a combined effort between Highmark, state legislators, community-based care providers, employers, and outreach organizations can accelerate progress in this area.

Met patients where they are

In 2022, we continued to make advancements in technology and communications to help simplify health care and health insurance experiences for our 7 million members. Our strategy includes helpful reminders about annual vaccines and provider visits, life-stage recommendations for benchmark diagnostic tests, and patient education and engagement. 

“Our mission at Highmark is to create a remarkable health experience, freeing people to be their best. There is a customer experience mindset to this,” explains Riner. “We want the experience to be frictionless. Highmark focuses on ‘what does this individual member need to know and where do they need to go?’ so we can meet them where they are on their health journey.” 

We use data to understand unique member attributes and recommend provider visits and diagnostic testing specific to that member. We also use data prescriptively and predictively to assess existing conditions, determine future health risks, and advise on preventive care. Our goal is to help each Highmark member take the next best healthy action for themselves.

Created an award-winning workplace

Highmark received several employer accolades in 2022. We were named among America’s Best Employers by Forbes, as well as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion by the Disability Equality Index. We were also one of the 2022 Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award winners. 

Like all companies, however, our approach to employment has changed over the past few years due to COVID-19. We took what was best about how we used to work pre-pandemic and the best of what we learned about remote work and flexibility. Today’s Highmark is a place where people can work in an environment where they can thrive. 

“At Highmark, you can work on-site, off-site, or flex between the two,” says Riner. “We’ve created new norms that put us ahead of our competitors in the way we think. Being flexible has opened up our ability to attract remote talent from all over the country. We value being together in person for the right reasons and at the right times, but people don’t have to come into the office every day to be successful here.”

Poised to break down barriers in 2023

Everything that Highmark achieved in 2022 has set the stage for continued growth and innovation. Top priorities for the new year include:

  • Helping employers manage the increasing costs of health care benefits without impacting quality of care.
  • Expanding access to, and reducing the stigma around, behavioral health care as a necessary component of total wellness.
  • Improving health literacy among our members to help them better understand their conditions, insurance coverage, cost of care and how to better navigate the healthcare system.
  • Addressing social determinants of health by pursuing strategic partnerships, providing greater tools and resources, and investing in the communities we serve.
  • Attracting and retaining top talent to support our individual, employer-based, and government-provided health plans.

It all adds up to breaking down barriers — between Highmark and our customers, members and their providers, and the societal constructs that hinder health equity.

All references to “Highmark” in this communication are references to Highmark Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and/or to one or more of its affiliated Blue companies.

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