Thursday, March 18, 2021
PITTSBURGH (March 18, 2021) — On March 18, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and Feeding America® announced a new partnership aimed at increasing equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine by providing trusted clinical information that highlights the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination. Through this partnership, BCBSA and Feeding America will lean into a network of 200 food banks—that reach more than 40 million people across the United States—to share clinical information and educational materials highlighting the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly a dozen of the 200 Feeding America partners are located in Highmark Health Blues Plan regions throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. Highmark Health Plans are excited about this collaboration that will provide important materials our communities can use to make knowledgeable decisions about their health and the vaccine.
As part of the partnership, BCBSA will provide Feeding America and food banks nationally with English and Spanish educational materials, such as social media posts, posters and question-and-answer documents that draw on information from trusted sources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and BCBSA clinical experts. The goal is to help dispel common myths about the vaccine that may prevent people from getting it. Local food banks will be able to leverage these materials on their own digital channels and at their brick and mortar food pantry locations.
Highmark has joined with other Blue Plans for the Rally for Recovery Commitment to protect employees, encourage COVID-19 vaccinations, and educate staff and local communities on ways to mitigate the spread of the virus; as well the Vaccine Community Connects pilot program with AHIP, BCBSA and the White House to vaccinate 2 million seniors, with a focus on people living in the most at-risk vulnerable and underserved areas, including African American and Hispanic communities. Most Highmark Health Plan members can get a COVID-19 vaccine at no charge.
BCBSA and Feeding America will also partner to create web-based public health modules and additional materials over the next twelve months, covering critical health topics such as COVID-19, vaccinations, and the importance of health equity to help enhance health education within the communities that Feeding America network food banks serve. These modules will build on Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies’ commitment to ensure the equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and further promote vaccinations.
“To stop the pandemic, we must work together to help people get vaccinated and support our communities – especially those that are most vulnerable,” said Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSA. “With its nationwide network of community food banks, Feeding America is a tireless advocate for millions of Americans. We are pleased to work with them to build confidence in vaccines and to start to regain normalcy in our lives.”
“Feeding America is uniquely positioned to help identify and address systemic barriers to ending food insecurity in the United States,” said Casey Marsh, Chief Development Officer at Feeding America. “Partnerships with organizations like BCBSA help us work with member food banks to invest in underserved communities in many ways, including investments in health equity.”
By the end of 2020, Highmark had awarded nearly $4 million in grants to organizations focused on helping people in need throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of a more than $7 billion invested by all BCBS companies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The BCBS system continues to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine effort to save lives and lessen the severity of the disease thanks to its deep community roots and localized approach to serving its members, with a particular focus on helping the most vulnerable and at-risk populations.
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About Highmark Inc.
One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of more than 5.6 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross 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 Index. 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, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog. To learn more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are combatting the pandemic, visit https://www.bcbs.com/coronavirus-updates/stories.
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
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Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves the 29 counties of western Pennsylvania and 13 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Shield serves the 21 counties of central Pennsylvania and also provides services in conjunction with a separate health plan in southeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves the state of West Virginia plus Washington County. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware serves the state of Delaware. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York serves eight counties in Western New York and Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York serves 13 counties in Northeastern New York. Each of these companies is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
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