BCBS of Rhode Island Logo


We know that Rhode Islanders’ well-being is influenced by where they grow up, live, and work—and that significant disparities exist, even in our small state. To help our communities thrive, we collaborated with providers, community-based organizations, and our members to work toward a healthcare system that is fair for everyone.


Understanding the challenges facing our neighbors

Finding affordable housing. Meeting the rising cost of living. Accessing nutritious food. The fifth annual RI Life Index showed that Rhode Islanders still perceive these as steep challenges to their well-being.

This statewide survey, a partnership of BCBSRI and the Brown University School of Public Health, shows that life is getting harder for some, particularly in underserved communities. Together with our community partners, we’re working to change this. The 2023 Index data give us a shared understanding of opportunities we have to improve equity and help all Rhode Islanders live healthier lives.

5-year trends in the RI Life Index

4points down
Overall Index
12points down
Affordable housing
3points down
Economic situation
7points down
Access to nutritious foods
We need to create communities of opportunity to minimize, neutralize, and dismantle the systems of racism that have created segregation and other inequities in health.
Dr. David Williams, Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Keynote speaker at the 2023 RI Life Index launch

Investing in affordable housing and food security

Housing and food are healthcare. And the results of the RI Life Index show that our neighbors are continuing to struggle to meet these basic needs. In 2023, we continued our work to help all Rhode Islanders have a safe place to call home and nutritious meals to put on their table.

Grants dedicated to improving access to housing

For the fourth year, our BlueAngel Community Health Grants focused on organizations that help improve access to safe, stable, and affordable housing throughout Rhode Island. Our 2023 recipients were awarded $335,000 to support their important work, from building homes to renovating housing for low-income families to offering homebuyer education classes in Spanish. An additional $405,000 was awarded to recipients from 2022 to continue their successful programs.

westbay community actionJonnycake Center For HopeAdoption Rhode IslandSouth County Habitat for Humanity Rhode Islandwestelmwood housing development corporation

More affordable housing

With support from BCBSRI and other funders, the Local Initiative Support Corporation is committed to creating more than 1,500 affordable housing units in our state. Our partnership started in 2022, and we are already seeing results.

affordable housing units added to the pipeline through 2023
in BlueAngel Community Health Grant funding

The house we built together

In 2023, we partnered with Habitat for Humanity, Greater Providence and East Bay, to sponsor a home from groundbreaking to move-in. In addition to our $75,000 investment, our associates helped build the house, working on everything from framing to flooring to painting—our largest volunteer project ever. The house will become a home in 2024 when a multigenerational family moves in.

volunteer hours

Rolling up our sleeves

See the progress of the Habitat for Humanity house.

RI Summer Meals - Healthy Kids. Healthy Communities. Healthy Rhode Island.

Free summer meals for children

For some families, summer brings the stress of replacing the low- or no-cost meals their children receive at school. BCBSRI has been working to support access to nutritious food year-round and is a longtime financial supporter of Rhode Island’s Summer Food Service Program. In 2023, we continued to support this USDA program, which funds free breakfasts and lunches at participating sites, such as Boys & Girls Clubs.

meals served every summer

Wholesome foods for low-income communities

We continued to sponsor The ELISHA Project’s Share Market Program, which provides more than 47,000 Rhode Island families with fresh produce and household supplies. Our BlueAngel volunteers donated 500 hours to support these markets.

donated to the Rhode Island Community Bank from employees and BCBSRI

Hear how the Rhode Island Community Food Bank helps our neighbors stay healthy.


Working to make healthcare more equitable

All Rhode Islanders deserve care that is inclusive, affordable, and accessible. In 2023, we collaborated with providers and community organizations to help address disparities in our healthcare system.

Martha Wofford
Martha L. Wofford, President and CEO, BCBSRI

A campaign to increase colorectal cancer screenings

While colorectal cancer is highly preventable and treatable, it remains the second most common cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined. Significant and unacceptable racial and ethnic disparities persist, with Black Americans about 40% more likely to die from colorectal cancer than most other groups.1

Unlike most cancers, colorectal cancer can be detected early through a variety of screenings. In 2023, we mounted a campaign to ensure 80% of our members ages 45 to 75 are regularly screened by the end of 2025 and to reduce disparities in screening by at least 50%. We collaborated with the Lifespan Community Health Institute and other partners on educating people about all screening options—including at-home kits—and navigating them to the tests that are most appropriate for them.

“Let’s end colorectal cancer,” said
CEO Martha L. Wofford in The Boston Globe.

Learn how BCBSRI is working with local provider, government, and community partners to get Rhode Islanders screened.

members age 45-75 screened in 2023

A continued focus on maternal health

Everyone deserves the best pregnancy and childbirth care available, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or ZIP code. In 2023, BCBSRI continued to work on closing racial disparity gaps in maternal health and to support our members by:

An outside picture of smiling pregnant Nelitza with Christian Velasquez
Photo of Nelitza and Christian Velasquez taken by Madilacie Photography
  • Expanding our high-risk maternity program

    Our Care Management team identifies members who are at-risk and provides one-on-one coaching with the goal of reducing the risk of preterm births, low birth weights, and pregnancy-related complications.

  • Promoting equitable care for all birthing families

    We continued our partnership with the Urban Perinatal Education Center (UPEC), which offers classes, doula referrals, and training. We sponsored UPEC’s inaugural Black Maternal Mental Health Summit.

  • Growing the overall doula workforce and adding them to our network

    We’ve supported ongoing training and development, in partnership with key doula workforce organizations, to increase the number of doulas in Rhode Island, while working to credential doulas to join our BCBSRI network. We also encourage our members, particularly those at high risk, to use doula services.

This is my first pregnancy, and I liked the idea of having someone else on my team, another person to check in with about how things are going. And I liked that it was already included with my Blue Cross plan.
Nelitza Velasquez, BCBSRI member and participant in the Maternal Care Management Program


BCBSRI supported the funding of a 2023 health brief by Kids COUNT: “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Maternal, Infant, and Young Children’s Health in Rhode Island.”

An african american woman holding her newborn child.

Better information to build a better system

To address inequities in healthcare, we are gathering and using de-identified information about access to basic healthcare screenings by race and ethnicity. Additionally, we make this data public in our Health Equity Report so all can see the gaps that exist. And we need our members’ help. In 2023, we invited members to tell us more about themselves, including their race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and pronouns. Their responses are helping us identify parts of the healthcare system that work and where we need improvement.

100+ LGBTQ Safe Zones

In 2023, we designated an additional 37 care settings as LGBTQ Safe Zones, bringing our total to more than 100. We started the program in 2016 to certify facilities that have adopted best practices in providing LGBTQ-inclusive care.

100+ LGBTQ Safe Zones

Diversity, equity, inclusion—and belonging

Supplier Diversity Awards

The first-ever BCBSRI Supplier Diversity RIsing Awards are one way we promote sustainable development of diverse businesses throughout the communities we serve.

increase in 2023 spending among diverse vendors compared to 2022

Lending many hands to local nonprofits

The theme of our 2023 day of service was “Best. Day. Ever.” And it was. During the 12th annual Blue across Rhode Island on September 15, more than 520 of our associates had the chance to give back to the communities where we live. We worked shoulder-to-shoulder with 14 amazing nonprofits that are addressing the urgent issues facing Rhode Islanders, from homelessness to food insecurity.

Our BlueAngel volunteers built houses, worked in food pantries, revitalized community centers, and transformed outdoor spaces for children and adults. In addition to volunteer support, each project site received a contribution of $5,000 to assist with their important work.

A woman holding a full wheelbarrow while a man helps keep it from tipping over.

12 Years of Blue Across RI

volunteer hours
Rhode Islanders impacted
BCBSRI takes social responsibility to the next level. To commit hundreds of staff for a full day of service to support the people of Rhode Island is a true demonstration of the organization's dedication.
Meg Rego, Director Of Resource Development & Communications, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley

1American Cancer Society.