Revolutionizing Louisiana Healthcare: The Elevance-BCBSLA Game Changer

Published 4:10 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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By I. Steven Udvarhelyi, MD and Morgan Kendrick

Elevance Health’s partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) is crucial to improving the overall health of individuals, families, and our communities in Louisiana. By virtually every measure, Louisiana ranks at or near the bottom in health outcomes. Louisianians have shorter life spans, higher rates of infant mortality, and higher burdens of obesity and chronic illness than citizens of other states. It is undeniable that there needs to be systematic and material change to the trajectory of healthcare access, affordability, and outcomes in this state.

The proposed partnership between Elevance Health and BCBSLA is the best opportunity for addressing the gap between Louisiana and the rest of the nation. Together, we will improve health outcomes and affordability for all Louisianians – who need and deserve this opportunity. By combining our organizations, members will continue to receive the reliable, local care they have come to know with BCBSLA, enhanced by Elevance Health’s unmatched national scope, breadth of capabilities, and technology.

Our partnership will bring expanded benefits and resources to BCBSLA members by drawing on the full breadth and scope of Elevance Health’s national capabilities and delivering them locally. Together, we will continue and build upon the strong, local tradition of Louisianians serving Louisianians. BCBSLA’s leadership will remain headquartered in Louisiana, just as leadership are in every state where Elevance Health operates. Together, we will be focused on the needs of every community across Louisiana – from Ruston, Natchitoches and Deridder, to Lafayette, Lake Charles and New Orleans.

Members will benefit from more affordable and convenient care, enabled by access to new capabilities and services that will slow the current pace of rising health care costs and make gaining access to healthcare easier. Elevance Health has invested billions of dollars to provide members with cutting-edge capabilities and benefits that BCBSLA does not currently offer. Members of the new BCBSLA will have access to a nationwide portfolio of innovations, including behavioral health services, digital-first solutions that empower people to take charge of their care, advocacy services to help navigate the healthcare system, and programs to help address complex and chronic conditions – much of it accessible through the phone in the palm of your hand.

Also important is what will not change. As part of Elevance Health, BCBSLA provider networks will remain the same. Members can keep their doctors, hospitals, and health care providers, with continued access to the 95% of doctors and 96% of hospitals in the U.S. that are in our broader network.

The combination with Elevance Health will also result in the creation of a new non-profit entity that will be narrowly focused on improving the health and lives of the people of Louisiana, a fitting legacy for BCBSLA’s 90-year mission-focused history in the state.

The Elevance Health-BCBSLA partnership is more than a collaboration; it’s our commitment to Louisiana’s health and our future generations that build on our great history. Together, we are excited to welcome a new dawn for healthcare in Louisiana that embodies the successful approach that BCBSLA has maintained for nine decades, with greater support, innovation, and new options for consumers, families, and employers across the state.

Morgan Kendrick serves as executive vice president of Elevance Health and president for the company’s Commercial and Specialty Health Benefits. I. Steven Udvarhelyi, MD is the president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.