At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, our priority remains what matters most: standing with our members and communities — especially during the unprecedented global pandemic.
We established the COVID-19 Community Collaborative Grant Fund as part of the effort. The $1 million fund was distributed to 20 nonprofit organizations across the state that specialize in community-based social services, provider support and access to care, food security, childcare and senior care. This approach put money in the hands of experts who can provide the greatest impact possible.
For instance, local food pantries in Montana faced a dramatic increase in demand as the virus surged. The Montana Food Bank Network used $75,000 from the COVID-19 fund to implement creative solutions to cost and distribution problems presented by the pandemic.
Career Transitions, a Bozeman-based organization providing job training and career counseling to low-income families, received $30,000 from the fund. They put the money toward expanding their services as COVID-19 challenged many Montanans’ employment and financial security.
A separate $10,000 donation boosted supplies of personal protective equipment by supporting a collaboration with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center at Montana State University.
BCBSMT also took steps to directly aid our members during the COVID-19 crisis. We expanded telemedicine visit coverage to include phone calls and eliminated member cost-sharing for covered medical and behavioral health services delivered via telemedicine.
A special enrollment period for insured group customers allowed their employees to get health care coverage if they didn’t opt in during the regular enrollment period.
$1 million given through
COVID-19 Community Collaborative Grant Fund
400 employees transitioned to remote work
to aid in PPE manufacturing
Every year, BCBSMT supports communities throughout the state with grants and sponsorships. While COVID-19 altered many plans, BCBSMT remained committed to annual giving through the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative.
In 2020, BCBSMT awarded four $50,000 grants to address social determinants of health through HKHF. Recipients included the Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools, Families First Learning Lab, Riverstone Health Foundation and Rural Dynamics.
BCBSMT’s annual Governor’s Cup race was canceled because of the pandemic, but the show went on, virtually. Nearly 500 runners in 26 states participated in the Governor’s Cup 12 Days of Christmas Virtual 5K, raising more than $12,000 for the Caring Foundation of MontanaSM.
The Caring Foundation supports the Care Van® program, which works with community providers to deliver free or low-cost childhood vaccinations, flu shots and other preventive services across the state.
BCBSMT’s Big Blue Sky InitiativeSM — aimed at curbing drug addiction, suicide and bullying while promoting healthy living — launched two new campaigns in 2020. One fostered a public conversation around bullying. Another allowed middle and high schools to offer free access to Mental Wellness Basics, a digital course giving students opportunity to explore their mental health and develop strategies to manage it.
Employees also gave their own time in 2020, despite COVID-19 making in-person volunteer events difficult.
Kali Wicks, the 2020 BCBSMT Volunteer of the Year, contributed more than 100 hours of service to a variety of organizations in the Helena community, including serving as president of the Women’s Foundation of Montana and vice president of the Career Training Institute.
“One thing I have always felt is true about volunteering is that you’re always going to feel better coming out of it than you are going into it," Wicks said. "It is going to give you that sense of purpose and fulfillment we all need as people.”
4,058 hours volunteered
by employees at
2 Care Vans
served 3,369 clients
$1.9 million total
Our initiatives to improve care access and affordability contribute directly to our mission to do everything in our power to stand with our members and communities in sickness and in health.
A collaboration between BCBSMT and St. Peter’s Health in Helena to enhance and expand access to telemedicine kicked into high gear in 2020. The program, which was accelerated by the pandemic, uses the TytoCare platform to connect patients virtually with their St. Peter’s Health primary care doctor. An at-home diagnostic tool allows clinicians to hear patients’ lungs and heart, take a temperature, and look inside the throat and ears or at a rash. St. Peter’s distributed 200 of the devices to their patients and conducted 9,000 visits in 2020. “In a rural state like Montana, this can really help a family like ours,” says TytoCare user Amy Hasselbach. “It relieves so much of the stress.”
BCBSMT also gave $100,000 to independent practitioners across the state to expand their telemedicine capabilities as part of our COVID-19 response. They could use the money to implement TytoCare or another service.
BCBSMT committed to donating $150,000 over three years to support Montana Tech as it expands its nursing department. The school is constructing a new Nursing Simulation Center on its Butte campus and growing the capacity of its nursing program by 50%.
— John Doran, divisional vice president of external affairs, BCBSMT
9,000+ virtual visits conducted with
BCBSMT is committed to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we know the positive impact a diverse workforce can have on our customers, our communities and our company.
Our approach to diversity and inclusion engages leaders to ensure there is alignment at an executive level. The Executive D&I Council, made up of nine senior leaders from across the business, meets quarterly to promote a shared commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Our employee-led business resource groups (BRGs) are there to support, empower and connect employees to the business, community, and one another.
For instance, the Engaging Multigenerational Energy to Recognize Growth Enterprisewide (EMERGE) BRG seeks to leverage the unique generational differences and the perspectives each generation brings to our current workforce.
The M in EMERGE used to stand for millennial, but EMERGE members in Helena changed the focus from millennial to multigenerational in 2020. This allows the BRG to better leverage perspectives from all age groups in the workforce.
After all, 55% of BCBSMT employees are Generation X, while 34% are Millennial and 11% are part of the Baby Boomer generation.
EMERGE is one of three active BRGs at BCBSMT:
BCBSMT prioritizes operating in an ethical and sustainable manner for the good of our employees, members and clients.
The environment plays a large role in people’s well-being, with studies linking environmental quality with physical and mental health.
Our headquarters building in Helena is LEED certified, a recognition given to buildings that are energy efficient. It's also Fitwel certified, meaning it supports a healthier workplace environment to improve occupant health and productivity. Additionally, 100% of our energy in 2020 came from renewable sources.
We are also committed to the highest standards of business ethics and integrity, and all employees and vendors must agree to follow codes of ethics and conduct.
These efforts contributed to Ethisphere naming the company that operates BCBSMT a World’s Most Ethical Company for the fifth straight year in 2020.
pounds of paper
of water saved through recycling efforts
100% of our
electricity comes from