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Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Report Finds Link between a Population’s Health and a Growing Economy, Higher Incomes and Lower Unemployment

Theo tin Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Moody’s Analytics uses the Blue Cross Blue...

Theo tin Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

Moody’s Analytics uses the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health IndexSM to show how health impacts the economy

CHICAGO, March 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) today released the second edition of a Moody’s Analytics report that finds a direct link between a population’s health and a growing economy, higher incomes and lower unemployment.

Moody’s Analytics utilized the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health IndexSM (BCBS Health Index) – a first-of-its-kind measurement of health for nearly every county in America. The BCBS Health Index identifies the health conditions with the greatest impact on the commercially insured and – paired with an analysis by Moody’s Analytics – how those conditions impact the economic well-being of communities.

The BCBS Health Index, powered by de-identified data from more than 40 million commercially insured members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies, finds that five conditions nationally are responsible for 30 percent of the adverse health of this population. Those conditions are: depression, anxiety and other mood disorders; hypertension; diabetes; high cholesterol; and substance use disorders.

An analysis of the BCBS Health Index by Moody’s Analytics also found a direct link between healthy people and a healthy economy with healthier counties having lower unemployment and higher incomes. When compared to counties with a median BCBS Health Index result, counties within the top 10 percent had:

A per capita income of $3,700 higher
A 10-year economic growth of 3.5 percent higher
An unemployment rate half a point lower
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are committed to transforming our health care system and the health of our nation through actionable data,” said Scott Serota, president and CEO for BCBSA. “This Index uses the breadth and depth of BCBS data to bring critical health insights to policymakers, community leaders, business leaders and health care professionals, helping them further focus efforts to improve their communities’ health.”

“The BCBS Health Index shows that health and the economy’s performance go hand in hand,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Policymakers can use the BCBS Health Index to better understand how health outcomes impact economic growth.”

As a comprehensive measurement of actual health care experiences, the BCBS Health Index was designed to support national and local discussions about how to improve American health policy and practice. It quantifies how more than 200 common diseases and condition categories affect overall health and wellness by assigning each county a health impact measure between 0 and 1, designating the proportion of optimal health reached by the county’s population. Each county’s BCBS Health Index impact measure and top five impacting conditions can be found at

The Moody’s Analytics analysis also scores the health of workers from different industries and shows that health outcomes have a positive correlation with whether or not older working-age adults remain in the workforce, and how improved health can boost the economy by allowing older workers to remain in the workforce.

This is the eleventh study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America ReportSM series, a collaboration between the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Blue Health Intelligence, which uses a market-leading claims database to uncover key trends and insights into health care affordability and access to care.

For more information, visit

BCBS Health Index Methodology

The BCBS Health Index is informed by data from Blue Cross Blue Shield Axis®, the BCBS companies’ industry-leading data capability. It is also a result of collaboration with Blue Health Intelligence®, which provided analytical support, and consultation with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington in Seattle, that helped BCBS in defining condition categories and measuring their disabling affects.

Using blinded claims data from more than 40 million commercially insured members of BCBS companies, ICD-9 diagnoses were mapped to over 200 health condition categories. The impact of each condition was determined based on the years lost due to the risk of premature death and the disabling effects of illness or disease. These years of life lost were subtracted from the optimum life expectancy (OLE) of a given member assuming no health conditions and then divided by OLE to get an estimate of health between 0 and 1 with 1 corresponding to optimal health, defined as the absence of any currently known conditions or risks associated with potential adverse health impacts. A value less than one represents the proportion of future healthy life for that member based on his or her diagnosed condition(s). These individual level estimates are then aggregated to create a health score for the population.

The formal calculation is [OLE – (Mortality + Disability)] / OLE, where “OLE” is a person’s optimum life expectancy derived from an actuarial life table, “mortality” is “years of life lost” due to risk of premature death, and “disability” is years of living with a disability.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield words and symbols, Blue Cross Blue Shield Axis®, Blue Health Intelligence®, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America ReportSM, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Health IndexSM are all trademarks owned by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

About Moody’s Analytics

Moody’s Analytics helps capital markets and risk management professionals worldwide respond to an evolving marketplace with confidence. The company offers unique tools and best practices for measuring and managing risk through expertise and experience in credit analysis, economic research and financial risk management. By providing leading-edge software, advisory services, and research, including the proprietary analysis of Moody’s Investors Service, Moody’s Analytics integrates and customizes its offerings to address specific business challenges. Moody’s Analytics is a subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO), which reported revenue of $3.6 billion in 2016, employs approximately 10,600 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 36 countries. Further information is available at

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

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