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Blue Shield of California Focuses on Building Its Brand

by John Hansen

When the Affordable Care Act was passed, Blue Shield Covered California hit the pause button on brand building. They focused their attention on Health Care Reform and being ready for the radical changes in the market. In so doing, they road on their reputation as it was previously established and stopped working on building their brand. 

After Obama Care California was passed into law in 2010, Blue Shield turned their focus almost completely to getting ready for the implementation of Health Care Reform. According to Renee Casserly, Director of Sales Operations and Business Development at Blue Shield of California, this leading California carrier planned for three years, worked on their systems for 18 months, and spent tens of millions of dollars getting ready for 2014. They wanted to do well in the new world of Health Care Reform and they wanted to succeed in the Covered California exchange market.Blue Shield of California Focuses on Building Its Brand

With the busyness of transformation and adaptation, brand identity was almost completely forgotten. “We let the brand be what it is,” commented Renee Casserly. “However, in 2017 we’re going back to brand and who we are.”

The focus of the Blue Shield CA brand in two words is “affordable” and “sustainable”. In 2017, Molina Insurance dropped their prices so that they were the cheapest health insurance plan in the market. However, Casserly argues that this kind of market grab is not sustainable. Risk Adjustment Factors are going to come back to bite Molina, and they will have to raise their rates. Molina’s model is very affordable, but it is in question whether it’s sustainable.

Toward this end of affordability and sustainability, Blue Shield has felt the need to committedly move into the HMO market. They are doing so with their TRIO product.

To build brand, Blue Shield is refocusing their vision and promoting their motto “Never Stop”. According to Jeff Smith, Blue Shield Individual and Family Plan General Manager, they want to win customers to “spend a lifetime with Blue Shield.” A health plan must be sustainably affordable in order to maintain its position in the market, and that is the aim of Blue Shield of California.