A Conversation With: Glenn Heisey, senior vice president of strategy and business operations at Capital BlueCross

Stacy Wescoe//July 2, 2020

A Conversation With: Glenn Heisey, senior vice president of strategy and business operations at Capital BlueCross

Stacy Wescoe//July 2, 2020

Heisey –


LVB: Health insurers have been making drastic changes in the way they see health care in recent years. What do you see as the top trends?

Heisey: Capital BlueCross continues to make strategic investments in technology that are making it easier for people to choose coverage, monitor the use of that coverage, and make smart decisions about their overall healthcare. Our members can use a laptop or phone to securely access all of their personal health information, schedule virtual medical visits for physical or mental health issues, or get tips on how to stay healthy. Technology makes that kind of convenience possible.

Emerging technologies are also reshaping how we manage population health, giving us the data and analytics to identify healthcare issues that might be costly to an employer, so we can work with that employer and their employees to improve health and save them money. Technology also is empowering us to take a more holistic look at healthcare and examine how things like physical health, mental wellness, prescription drug use and other factors all intersect, so we can help people live their healthiest.

As an example, we offer an analytics platform through  one of our subsidiaries. It offers an array of tools to identify healthcare trends and issues and proactively identify populations that could be at risk for health problems, or benefit from intervention or guidance in maintaining health.

LVB: How does offering wellness, exercise and healthy eating programs to your customers benefit an insurance company’s bottom line?

Heisey: A quality wellness program promotes and rewards healthy behavior, which in turn reduces or eliminates medical issues and related costs for the individual. By helping a member stay healthy, we’re helping to ensure the best possible member experience. That member knows we care about their well-being.

Another benefit of a quality wellness program is for employers, who can use these programs to reward healthy behavior by their employees and help reduce absenteeism, work-related injuries, and long-term health issues that could impact productivity.

Capital BlueCross’ wellness program, Healthy Blue Rewards, gives members useful tools and resources to take charge of their health, guiding them to make meaningful progress toward specific health and wellness goals that they help identify.

LVB: Recently, many insurers started covering telehealth appointments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. How is that going?

Heisey: Capital BlueCross has offered telehealth coverage for several years—long before the pandemic—and we worked with local network providers to improve access to telehealth during the pandemic, including further expanding the types of telehealth providers and services we cover during this time.

We also made the decision to waive member costs for telehealth visits during the height of the pandemic. That waiver was one of several proactive steps we took to encourage members to use technology to safely access healthcare and to help minimize in-person medical visits at a time when doctors’ offices and medical facilities were being strained.

We’ve also waived member costs for medical and behavioral health visits on our own telehealth platform, Capital BlueCross Virtual Care. We saw a sharp increase in Virtual Care medical visits in mid-March and then a gradual decline back to pre-pandemic levels; while, we continue to see a steady increase in Virtual Care behavioral visits. We already knew telehealth was an emerging tool, but the COVID-19 pandemic proves it’s here to stay.

LVB: What do you think the next trends will be in health care coverage?

Heisey: The healthcare landscape in Pennsylvania will continue to be shaped by the increasing number of Baby Boomers reaching Medicare eligibility age. This age group is embracing technology and e-commerce at an increasingly fast pace, opening up new opportunities to communicate with them.