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BCBSIL President Discusses COVID-19 Response With Becker's

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois President Steve Hamman recently joined the Becker’s Payer Issues Podcast to discuss the company’s evolving response to COVID-19 and industry trends.

Hamman tells Becker’s the pandemic forced BCBSIL to adapt quickly to help meet the needs of members, providers, employer groups and the government.

This included prioritizing real-time expansion of telehealth benefits, facilitating pharmacy refills and waiving prior authorization and cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and diagnosis.

Steve Hamman

“Essentially, if it impacts the members and providers, it’s a payer issue, too,” Hamman says. Hamman acknowledges insurers have seen a steep drop in claims costs in recent months because of canceled or postponed non-urgent care.

However, he adds, the “timing, duration and magnitude of COVID-19 are still very much uncertain” and “we are expecting some continued industry volatility.” 

In the meantime, he says, BCBSIL has taken action to support providers and employer customers experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic.

He also highlights that the Plan created the $1.5 million COVID-19 Community Collaboration Fund to quickly send resources to organizations providing access to care, food and shelter.

“The bottom line is that we are looking to return value to our customers through a number of mechanisms," Hamman says in the interview.

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