BCBS forms BCBS Institute to partner with Lyft, give members rides to Walgreens, CVS pharmacies

Blue Cross and Blue Shield expanded its partnership with Lyft to give plan enrollees rides to their neighborhood Walgreens and CVS pharmacies, as part of a new company known as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute.

In May 2017, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association tapped into Lyft's rideshare services and made them free for BCBS members in an effort to reduce the number of missed appointments resulting from patients' inadequate access to walking, biking or public transportation routes.   

As part of the expanded agreement, participating Blue Cross plans will begin to provide "no cost" transportation to Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health customers in certain areas to combat the so-called zip code effect. This means the BCBS Institute leverages data by members' zip codes about social determinants of health to draw conclusions about the area's greater population health issues.

CVS will fund Lyft rides to pharmacies for Blue Cross customers in Pittsburgh living within select "transportation deserts," and in a similar pilot program in Chicago, Walgreens will pay for Lyft rides for members located far from public transportation.

The announcement is part of BCBS' shift from fee-for-service to value-based care and  population health models that ensure patients receive high-quality care.

"A growing number of Americans live in areas where medical care is beyond reach, even when they have health insurance," CVS Health CMO Troyen Brennan, MD, said in a press release. "We are committed to addressing issues that are inextricably linked to health outcomes and which are greatly improved when people have access to pharmacies."

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