Maurice Smith, President
Blue Cross and Blue Shield
of Illinois

Message from Our President

Firsts are important.

2014 was a year of firsts in our business, in our industry and in our country.

Many Illinoisans became newly insured for the first time under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They made their first well-visit to the doctor or perhaps had their first child without worrying about whether to pay medical bills or the mortgage. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is proud to make those kind of firsts possible for so many in Illinois. Ensuring access to quality, affordable health care is a critical focus for us, and one that is personally important to me. Comfort and peace of mind are important components to having health care coverage that is sometimes overlooked, but not by our team. As an organization, we chose to be the first insurer to step up to offer affordable plans statewide on the government’s health insurance marketplace.

Firsts are important, but so is history. For almost 80 years, BCBSIL has served the needs and the wellbeing of the people of Illinois, and has since its inception, reinvested in our communities. In 2014 we focused our resources with an eye to the future. We took on issues such as disease prevention and management, we worked to provide better coordinated care, and we invested in additional resources and opportunities to offer safe play and physical activity, and worked further to educate people about the values of lifelong healthy habits.

Through 2014, Karen Atwood, served as president of BCBSIL. It was under her direction that Blue Cross made the community investments highlighted in this report. Her commitment to our employees, our members, and the communities we serve were the hallmarks of her leadership. Karen shared her time, her talent and her heart, and was asked to move up to lend her expertise more broadly across all five of Health Care Service Corporation’s state plans. I was named president in February, and fully intend to continue advancing our legacy. We continue to expand access to care, improve health care quality, and lower the overall cost of that care. Those three goals are as ambitious as ever, and I look to our employees, community partners and grantee organizations to help us to further that mission.

Our community investments are intended to directly touch the lives of Illinoisans. But some of our most important accomplishments happen one-on-one and person-to-person, through our dedicated employees. I am proud of the nearly 40,000 hours our employees volunteered in 2014. My team and I recognize the duty and responsibility that comes with being the state’s health insurance leader, and we remain committed toward working to improve the lives of others through our efforts and the resources available to us. I hope you’ll find the stories and features in this report as compelling as they were for us to take on.

Very sincerely,

Maurice Smith