An economic impact analysis found that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts’ (BCBSMA) contributed nearly $1.6 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy.
Similarly, the Economic Impact Study, conducted by Tripp Umbach, found that BCBSMA contributed 5,856 jobs to the economy in positions that span the entire economic spectrum. The direct benefits reached across the commonwealth in 2008, including direct contributions of $5.2 million to more than 470 charitable organizations.
“BCBSMA felt it was important to conduct this study to track the company’s overall economic impact,” says Jay McQuaide, vice president of corporate communications for BCBSMA. “It is also important for members, customers and the community to have a better understanding of BCBSMA’s impact to the economic health and well-being of the region as a not-for-profit business.”
The impact is more than commercial, according to McQuaide. He says philanthropic efforts, tax dollars and investments in transformational initiatives make healthcare more affordable and accessible.
One of the most promising ways to slow the rise in healthcare costs is to improve quality, and the overuse, underuse and misuse of healthcare services.
“Research shows that approximately one-third of all healthcare spending is wasted on care that is medically unnecessary and potentially harmful,” he says. “By making investments in transformational initiatives that will help eliminate waste, duplication and inefficiency, the healthcare industry can work together to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare.
For example, the report singled out: $590 million in incentives to physicians and hospitals to improve quality and effectiveness; $60 million in community initiatives such as the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative; and $9 million to collaborative efforts such as Healthcare Administrative Solutions Inc., a non-profit working to reduce administrative complexities.
Of note in the Economic Impact Study was that in addition to the $39 million BCBSMA paid in taxes to the federal government, the report found that despite BCBSMA’s not-for-profit status, the company contributed nearly $217 million in revenue to state government last year.
BCBSMA also created the Alternative Quality Contract, a provider contract model that combines two forms of payment: a global payment adjusted for health status, which increases annually in line with inflation; and performance incentives tied to measures of quality, effectiveness, and patient experience of care.