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Highmark Inc. introduces health index to identify top five conditions of commercially insured in counties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware

Highmark Inc.

PITTSBURGH (Dec. 6, 2016) — Communities across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware can now check up on the health conditions of their residents and the resulting economic impact, thanks to Highmark Inc.'s newly introduced Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index. The index is a first-of-its-kind measurement of health for nearly every county across the country.

Those viewing the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index can see the top five health conditions with the greatest impact on the commercially insured, and — paired with an analysis by Moody's Analytics — how those conditions impact the economic well-being of their areas.

"Highmark Inc. is pleased to be able to share this important information on a county-by-county basis, so that communities can not only be more aware of the health challenges they need to address in their specific regions, but how health status directly relates to key economic variables," said Christopher Clark, DO, Highmark medical director. "This data is provided by the country's largest healthcare system and offers business leaders, medical professionals and policymakers the tools to have data-driven conversations about how to enhance overall quality of life."

On a national level, The BCBS Health Index, which is powered by de-identified data from more than 40 million BCBS commercially-insured members, finds 1) depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, 2) hypertension, 3) diabetes, 4) high cholesterol, and 5) substance use disorders are the top five health conditions nationally, causing approximately 30 percent of commercial-insured America's overall reduction in health.

An analysis of the BCBS Health Index by Moody's Analytics also found a direct link between healthy people and a healthy economy with healthier counties having lower unemployment and higher incomes. When compared to counties with a median BCBS Health Index result, counties within the top 10 percent had:

  • A per capita income $3,700 higher
  • A 10-year economic growth of 3.5 percent higher
  • An unemployment rate half a point lower

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are committed to transforming our healthcare system and the health of our nation through actionable data," said Scott Serota, president and CEO for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). "This Index uses the breadth and depth of BCBS data to bring critical health insights to policymakers, community leaders, business leaders and healthcare professionals, helping them further focus efforts to improve their communities' health."

As a comprehensive measurement of actual healthcare experiences, the BCBS Health Index was designed to support national and local discussions about how to improve American health policy and practice. It quantifies how more than 200 common diseases and condition categories affect overall health and wellness by assigning each county a health impact measure between 0 and 1, designating the proportion of optimal health reached by the county's population.

For additional information visit the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index website.

About Highmark Inc.

Highmark Inc. and its health insurance subsidiaries and affiliates collectively are among the ten largest health insurers in the United States and comprise the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated organization. Highmark and its diversified businesses and affiliates operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5.2 million members and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the Blue Card program. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related businesses. Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Monica Lewis
Highmark Health