Press Releases

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield receives prestigious brand innovation award

  • Recognition Showcases Innovation that Provides Measurable Impact to Customers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Brand

PITTSBURGH (April 7, 2021) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield announced today that it has received a Brand Excellence Award from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) for Brand Innovation. The annual awards honor Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that excel in developing and enhancing the overall brand image.

Highmark received the award for Brand Innovation, which recognizes an innovative program that provides measurable impact to customers and the BCBS brand. Highmark has been recognized for the Two-Way Secure Mobile Messaging program, which delivered an easily accessible communications channel to better reach high-risk members that previously could not be reached. The program grew significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic and has achieved more than $1 million in cost savings.  

“We are proud to receive this Brand Innovation Award and to be recognized nationally for the innovative ways we are reaching members with higher clinical risk,” said Dr. Benjamin Edelshain, vice president of Clinical Engagement & Digital Innovation for Highmark. “We recognized significant barriers, especially during the pandemic, to access care among our highest risk members, and we sought to address that need through a secure system where our members could connect with nurse coaches and other clinicians.”

Dr. Edelshain said Highmark worked with vendor Relay Network to deliver the tool to more than a quarter million of its members.

“As a result, we saw higher engagement and an enhanced member experience,” he said. “Additionally, we saw cost savings of more than $1 million, driven by multiple campaigns, and our top-performing campaign achieved a 67% action rate on a 57% click-through rate.”

The mobile outreach campaigns didn’t just promote health and wellness, they promoted a relationship. The average count of back-and-forth messages between member and coach was 9, with the highest at 116, according to Dr. Edelshain. The timing of the outreach program also enabled Highmark to leverage this new channel to reach COVID-19 high-risk members with crucial information and resources to help keep them safe during the pandemic. And now, Highmark is also using the technology for outreach to schedule vaccine appointments for eligible members.

“Nearly one in three Americans trust the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand to provide affordable, accessible and high-quality healthcare coverage to them and their families,” said Kim Keck, BCBSA President and CEO. “We are proud to recognize Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and their innovative Two-Way Secure Mobile Messaging program for creating a seamless way for members to access the care they need through an easy-to-use communications channel.”

This marks the 26th year that BCBSA has presented Brand Excellence Awards to recognize BCBS companies nationwide in categories that promote the BCBS brand, including attracting new customers, fostering loyalty among existing customers and brand innovation. 

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield 
Highmark Inc., doing business as Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, serves approximately 2.6 million members through the company’s health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is the market leader in commercial market share, and through its affiliated Blue companies has strong Medicare Advantage market share as well. All of Highmark's Medicare Advantage plans in Pennsylvania received a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services quality rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. In western Pennsylvania, its unaided brand awareness, brand preference and overall brand rating are significantly higher than its closest competitor. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employs approximately 4,000 people in western, north central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield 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

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 35 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Index. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.

For more information, contact: 

Anthony Matrisciano
Highmark Health