The 80% Project

In the U.S., social factors, or Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) can impact up to 80% of someone’s health. The 80% Project, led by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, is working to minimize barriers to improve the health and well-being of the communities and customers it serves. But we can’t do it alone.

As a catalyst for change, The 80% Project teams up with others to create environments that help people be fully healthy — mentally, physically, and socially.

Community investments and support

Highmark’s community support platform connects members who have a social barrier to health with thousands of free or reduced-cost services to help meet food, housing, medical, and financial needs. 

Thrive18 – Serving Pittsburgh’s North Side Communities

Since 2018 Highmark has worked with Allegheny Health Network, the Allegheny County Health Department, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the City of Pittsburgh, The Buhl Foundation, Highmark Wholecare (formerly Gateway Health), and local non-profit Project Destiny to help connect residents from all 18 neighborhoods that make up the North Side of Pittsburgh with resources that address social barriers to health.

The program’s effectiveness centers on the human connections and trust built by Project Destiny and their team of community health workers. That trust allows individuals and families to share their social needs, so Thrive18’s workers can connect them with appropriate social and health services. Thrive18 demonstrates how place-based investments built on partnerships between community organizations, the health system, and local government can improve community health and health equity.


Search and connect to support

Use our free online tool to find resources for food, housing, transportation, utility assistance, medical care, job training and more in your community.

Member Programs

Highmark can connect members to the right programs to help them overcome challenges and live their healthiest lives.

SDoH Screening

Highmark social workers reach out to members to help identify social barriers to health and connect them to free or reduced-cost community resources. After completing a needs assessment, they can determine whether members are having difficulty with:

  • Food insecurity
  • Transportation issues
  • Social connections
  • Personal safety
  • Health literacy
  • Housing stability
  • Financial strain

This “social care” can help improve members’ physical and behavioral health and keep down long-term health care costs. 

High Performing Social Care Network

In June of 2022, Highmark and Allegheny Health Network (AHN) announced the launch of a multi-year initiative to create a high-performing social care network that will compensate non-profits that address social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, transportation barriers, and housing, for patients referred by the healthcare system.

In the first year of the pilot, 20 non-profits that serve Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties will participate in the program and have the potential to earn value-based reimbursement. Connecting individuals to social care can reduce health expenditures by thousands of dollars per year, creating significant value for individuals, employers, and taxpayers.

Blue Neighbors

Social isolation was a challenge for many Pennsylvania seniors even before COVID. Blue Neighbors is a volunteer program that creates memorable experiences and improves the health of the communities Highmark serves. The program encourages building sustainable friendships through social connections and engagement opportunities, and empowering people through education and resources.

Medicare Programs

Highmark’s Medicare products help members overcome barriers to managing their health, such as low-cost options to get to and from appointments or free meals for two weeks after hospital discharge.

Highmark Wholecare

Highmark’s Pennsylvania Medicaid product, Highmark Wholecare, helps its members achieve ‘whole life’ health. A community-based health plan, Highmark Wholecare addresses social determinants of health through benefits such as memberships in Boys & Girls Clubs and support for GED testing. Highmark Wholecare’s Connection Centers work one-on-one with members to help get the most out of their benefits and support physical, mental, and even financial health goals.

How we can help

Are you a Highmark member who needs assistance with food, housing, utilities, transportation, or other barriers to health? Call the number on the back of your member ID card to speak with a social worker who can help you locate agencies, resources, and programs.

You can also use our Highmark Community Support platform to find local social service programs like food banks, housing, and more. Search by zip code to get connected with programs that fit your needs.  

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