Jacksonville, FL - March 4, 2021
Florida Blue Medicare, the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare company, announced today its participation in a new effort to promote health equity by removing barriers to vaccinations for 2 million Americans most at risk for COVID-19.
Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative
Every American deserves access to safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines. Florida Blue Medicare and other health insurers have been working with federal, state and local leaders to ensure Americans can get vaccinated as quickly and equitably as possible. Members of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) extended that commitment with the announcement of the Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative.
The Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative aims to enable the vaccination of 2 million seniors age 65+ in America’s most at-risk, vulnerable and underserved communities – such as Black and Hispanic communities.
Florida Blue Medicare and other insurance providers will focus on their members and the communities they serve. They are working to reach this important goal quickly, depending upon the increasing availability of vaccine supply.
“Florida Blue Medicare has a long history of working closely with community leaders to understand the unique needs and obstacles each community faces and collaborate to address them. Work is already underway to leverage those long-held business and non-profit relationships in Florida’s high-risk underserved communities as part of this nationwide effort to vaccinate seniors,” said Camille Harrison, Florida Blue’s executive vice president of Medicare.
How the initiative will work
As vaccine supplies expand and registrations become more available, Florida Blue Medicare and other health insurers will use combined expertise, data and insights to:
- Identify seniors 65+ who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and live in areas where vaccination rates are most inequitable.
- Work with partners in the community to educate seniors on the safety, efficacy and value of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Contact those seniors who are eligible to get a vaccine through multiple channels to:
- Facilitate vaccine registration and appointment scheduling.
- Answer their questions about vaccines.
- Help them to understand when, where and how they can receive vaccines and remind them about any required second doses (if applicable).
- Coordinate services to help overcome barriers that may stand between them and getting vaccinated, including transportation.
- Work with federal, state and local leaders to deliver vaccines to underserved communities and closely collaborate with other vaccination partners, such as pharmacies.
- Track progress to ensure that those who need vaccinations most are receiving them.
Florida Blue Medicare is using its enrollee data and analytics in addition to a number of methods –
including government resources such as the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) – to help identify the 25% most vulnerable communities. The SVI is a metric used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that considers 15 social factors across socioeconomic status, household composition and disability, minority status and language, and housing type and transportation.
Social index data will be paired with other data such as vaccination histories and the prevalence of chronic conditions, improving accuracy and efficiency in the effort. By tailoring the outreach approach to each community, Florida Blue Medicare and other insurers will be able to best meet unique community needs.
The equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines demonstrates the critical importance of strong partnerships between the public sector and private market. Florida Blue Medicare and other participating insurers will rely on existing relationships, their ability to build strong networks within communities and among community leaders, and make connections across the health care system to provide access for America’s most vulnerable seniors 65+.
Florida Blue commits to Rally for Recovery
Florida Blue also announced today that it is joining other BCBSA companies in a Rally for Recovery Commitment, which aims to protect employees by encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations, while also educate employees and local communities on ways to mitigate the spread of the virus. The pledge was launched by the federal government and business leaders to encourage companies to take action to defeat the coronavirus.
Florida Blue commits to:
- Requiring individuals to wear masks and social distance while in the workplace.
- Reducing barriers to vaccinations by making it easier for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, once available to them.
- Communicating with employees, members and communities about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"We are seeing progress in the mitigation of COVID-19, but we cannot let our guard down,” said Florida Blue president and CEO Pat Geraghty. “While the public health and economic emergency continues to test our resolve, now is a time of guarded hope. As health leaders in our communities, we remain committed to setting the example and supporting our neighbors as we do our part to ensure the state is on the path to recovery.”
About COVID-19 Vaccines
For more information and resources related to COVID-19 vaccines, visit:
- Florida Blue: COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Page
- AHIP: Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccines
- BCBSA: Aiding the Most Vulnerable Seniors with Vaccines
About Florida Blue
Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for more than 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 5 million health care members across the state. In total, Florida Blue and its affiliated companies serve 28 million people in 45 states. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
AHIP is the national association whose members provide coverage for health care and related services to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. Through these offerings, we improve and protect the health and financial security of consumers, families, businesses, communities and the nation. We are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that improve affordability, value, access, and well-being for consumers. Visit www.ahip.org for more information.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and 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 IndexSM. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.