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Investing in our communities: Bettering health, lowering costs

For the last 85 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has been serving the communities we call home. Our commitment to build a healthier North Carolina goes far beyond health insurance.

As a not-for-profit company, our goal is to change the course of health in this state. That means we must identify and address the challenges that prevent our neighbors from achieving the best health possible.

Providing for others fulfills a sense of purpose and personal responsibility. It’s part of who we are as a company. Beyond that, transforming our communities for the better benefits us all – and results in lower premiums for everyone.

Why we invest

Through community investments, we partner with organizations across the state to mitigate key health risk factors that North Carolinians have struggled with for generations.

These factors, called drivers of health, include food security, access to quality education, safe housing and transportation. They can have a direct impact on our health – affecting us before we are born and lasting throughout our lives.

In fact, 53% of people say they are adversely impacted by at least one driver of health. More than half of us have an unmet need relating to social, economic or environmental factors.

This can result in lower quality of health and health care. What’s more, it impacts health care costs for everyone. When these social needs are not met, they lead to more illness, emergency room visits and hospital admissions. These expenses are then reflected in health insurance premiums.

The economic case for investing in our communities

By focusing our community efforts on drivers of health, we can help remove barriers to basic needs such as food and shelter. This ultimately lowers costs for all our members.

For example, in North Carolina:

  • Every $1 spent on tobacco prevention saves up to $55 in tobacco-related health care costs
  • Every $1 spent on diabetes prevention programs saves $25.63 in health care costs
  • Every $1 spent on nurse home visits for newborns can save $3 in health care costs
  • Every $1 spent on community water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs
  • Every $1 spent on biking and walking trails saves nearly $3 in medical costs

Unfortunately, North Carolinians aren’t as healthy as the rest of the nation. As a result, North Carolinians pay more for health care than people in healthier states. That’s why investing in community initiatives and prevention programs reduces costs for everyone.

Our commitment

As part of Blue Cross NC’s ongoing commitment to make NC healthier, we partner with nonprofits and organizations working to tackle our state’s greatest health challenges.

This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we committed $5 million in support. That money goes toward organizations like Feeding the Carolinas and the American Red Cross, which are working on the frontlines to serve those most impacted.

These investments are helping North Carolinians in need now and lowering costs for you and your family in the future.

authors photo
Cheryl Parquet
Cheryl Parquet

Director of Community Relations Department

Cheryl is the director of community relations department at Blue Cross NC. She serves as a liaison with professional and community agencies as well as other internal departments to help increase engagement within the company and brand awareness throughout the community for us to help improve the health and wellness of North Carolinians.

She currently serves on the board for East Durham Children's Initiative (EDCI) and Habitat for Humanity of Durham. She is a Goodman Fellow, Triangle Business Journal Diversity Leader of the Year and Spectacular Magazine Woman of the Year.

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