Before the pandemic, we saw a steady rise in the number of members taking advantage of telehealth, which allowed them to get medical care via video or phone. But during the pandemic—especially in the spring when doctors’ offices were closed—telehealth helped our members get care at a safe social distance.
At our store locations, one of the most popular perks was free fitness classes. We offered dozens each week, and members often came early to socialize before the class.
The stores are open, with COVID-19 protocols in place, to answer members' questions. But since we stopped offering in-person fitness classes due to the pandemic, we wanted to give our members another way to stay fit and connect with each other. Our solution was to offer fitness classes live on Facebook. They were so well received that we soon produced a different class every weekday and even introduced live workshops on healthy living. Since these classes are available on Facebook, they can help all Rhode Islanders (and people living anywhere) to be healthier.
To help our BCBSRI Medicare Advantage members take advantage of their health and wellness benefits during the pandemic, we mailed them information about the Facebook classes and a no-cost fitness kit that included resistance bands, a water bottle, and a towel.
To help older Rhode Islanders stay safe and healthy at home, BCBSRI delivered weekly groceries at no cost to 2,000+ high-risk Medicare Advantage members starting in December.
These free groceries include staples like milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables, cheese, pasta, bread, toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and other essential items. Whenever possible, groceries were sourced from local farms and vendors, which supported nine Rhode Island small businesses.
BCBSRI partnered with West Warwick-based Millonzi Fine Catering. They were able to hire several people who recently lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Our members were so enthusiastic about the program that we extended it into 2021.
In 2020, we rolled out a new online experience for members: myBCBSRI. Now when members log in, they can view and make changes to many more elements of their plan. They gain easy access to their digital ID cards, electronic documents, claim status, and benefit information.
Our financial performance in 2020 allowed us to create a premium relief program of almost $30 million for medical and dental customers. We also contributed $10 million to our donor-advised fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, used for philanthropic investments like our BlueAngel Community Health grants focused on safe and affordable housing. The after-tax net gain of $42 million was driven by several factors: strong enrollment, a final installment of a federal tax refund, and lower-than-expected medical claims during the first half of the year as members deferred non-COVID-19-related care.
For the fourth consecutive year, we have shown positive financial results, allowing us to contribute $42 million into reserves, money we set aside for the protection of all our members to pay future claims.
In 2020, statutory reserves that we held for the protection of our members totaled $416 million at year end.
In 2020, we recorded $1.70 billion in premiums from members (individuals and employers). We also recorded an $8.8 million gain on investment revenue.
From total revenue, $1.40 billion was used for medical and dental claims for our members. This amount accounted for 82.2% of premium revenue collected. The company spent $232.2 million (including premium taxes) on expenses to support the core operations of our business, or 13.6% of premiums. An additional $74.3 million was spent on other expenses, including $33.6 million on assessments required by the Affordable Care Act. The company also recorded a $36.3 million offset to expenses for the final installment of the Federal Tax Refund.
Overall, total revenue stood at just over $1.71 billion, and expenses exceeded $1.67 billion in 2020, resulting in a net gain of $42.4 million.
This formulation represents unaudited results utilizing Statutory Accounting Principles. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association licenses Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to offer certain products and services under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand names. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent organization governed by its own Board of Directors and solely responsible for its own debts and other obligations. Neither the Association nor any other organization using the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand names acts as a guarantor of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s obligations. A copy of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s most recent audited financial statements is available on request to: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, 500 Exchange Street, Providence, RI 02903.