New Downtown Lansing Offices: Strengthening our Commitment to Michigan’s Core Cities

Starting next week, downtown Lansing will be the home to an additional 300 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees. The ribbon was cut this morning by our CEO Dan Loepp with an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and members of the media. Some members of our team shared pictures to Twitter in real time this morning. Here are a few of those pictures:

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Our Lansing-based workforce is moving to downtown offices from a former suburban location.

The news media was also quick to pick up the story about our new Lansing location. Here is a sample of some of the headlines that posted today:

You can also listen to the recording of Dan Loepp’s interview with Mike Conley this morning on Lansing’s AM 1320 WILS.

What’s Cool Now? Making BCBSM a Great Place to Work

We’re thrilled to be named among the coolest places to work by Crain’s Detroit Business.  Our employees are our greatest asset, and we’re proud to be recognized, along with some of the most innovative companies across southeast Michigan.

Read the full article on the Crain’s Detroit Business website: Attract, retain, repeat: What’s cool in 2011: Hiring, helping workers build careers


Grand Rapids Students Get a Surprise Visit From Detroit Lions QB

A morning that typically would be filled with reading, writing and arithmetic was instead a star-studded, action-packed start of the day for 200 Grand Rapids students on Monday.

Matthew Stafford, starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions, surprised students from four elementary schools involved in Project FIT, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Michigan State University that aims to improve children’s health. Stafford joined the students in various exercises and talked to them about the importance of eating healthy and staying active.

“I’ve been healthy and I’ve been active my entire life,” Stafford told the students. “It’s a part of my job now.”

Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford teaches Grand Rapids kids the importance of staying healthy and active as part of Project FIT, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Project FIT is also looking to help families in the Buchanan, Campus, Cesar E. Chavez and Dickinson elementary school districts increase their access to nutritional foods through a new FIT Store program that enables the neighborhood stores to offer healthy food selections.

“We’ve got a real problem here. Fifteen to 20 percent of kids are obese today,” Jeff Connolly, president of BCBSM West Michigan operations, told The Grand Rapids Press. “You’ll continue to see Matthew and Blue Cross Blue Shield aligned on the fight against childhood obesity. It’s not a one-and-done deal.”

In 2009, Matthew Stafford and BCBSM announced their partnership to combat childhood obesity in Michigan through the promotion of preventive measures that foster healthy lifestyles.

Brush Up on Tigers Trivia for a Chance to Win Tickets to ‘Ernie,’ the Play by Mitch Albom

Many folks on our team here at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan were very fortunate to work with Ernie Harwell while he was still alive and share very fond memories. Some may not realize this about Ernie, but in addition to being a baseball legend, he was also very passionate about healthy living. He also once shared a blog with our walking advocate, Jodi Davis, a stay-at-home mom from West Michigan who lost 162 pounds by walking every day and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Jodi continues to share her story and tips for success on A Healthier Michigan. She and Ernie shared a love of walking and teaching others how to live better. Championing healthy lifestyles is something we are also very passionate about at BCBSM and Blue Care Network.

In the year since his passing, we chose to honor Ernie in many ways, including a recent mural and walking track dedication at our Detroit headquarters, and by sponsoring the production of ‘Ernie’ the play by Mitch Albom.

Since its opening, many people around the office have been raving about the play’s touching performances and star, Will David Young’s uncanny ability to channel the iconic voice of Ernie.

As part of our sponsorship of the play, we would like to share the experience of the play with you by giving you a chance to win tickets to the performance on our Facebook page.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting Tigers Baseball and Ernie Harwell trivia questions on our Facebook page to win tickets for the following performances:

  • May 17
  • June 8
  • June 21

The first question will be posted tomorrow, May 11, 2011 for tickets to the performance on the 17th. Additional dates for trivia questions will continue to be announced as we move closer to the other performance dates.

To win tickets you must answer our posted trivia question correctly. The first people to post a correct answer within the trivia discussion on Facebook will win pairs of tickets. Once we run out of tickets for a particular performance, we will update participants on our Facebook page:

Additional Terms and Conditions

No purchase necessary to enter to win. This giveaway is governed exclusively by the laws of Michigan. You are not authorized to participate within the giveaway if you are not located within Michigan.

  • Eligibility. Participation is only open to all legal residents of Michigan, who are 18 years of age or older on the date of entry. Employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (“Sponsor”) and respective subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, advertising and promotion agencies and their immediate families (parents, children, siblings, spouses) or members of the same household (whether related or not) are not eligible to enter. Participants must have a valid state-issued photo identification to be able to pick up their tickets.
  • How to Enter. The ticket giveaways will begin on or around April 15, 2011, and end on June 21, 2011.  Specific information regarding how to enter the ticket giveaways will be publicized on the Sponsor’s social media platforms.
  • Prize. Ten (10) winners will receive two (2) tickets to attend the play “Ernie” at the City Theatre in Detroit. The tickets could be for any one (1) of three (3) performance dates: May 17, 2011; June 8, 2011; June 21, 2011. No transportation, hotel or other expenses provided.
  • Drawings. Winners will be selected from all entrants received and be notified on the platform where the ticket giveaway was offered. Winners will be selected by correctly answering a trivia question or engaging on a social media platform through commenting, tweeting or posting in reply to a specific Facebook post, A Healthier Michigan blog post or a specific tweet. Detailed information regarding the specifics for each ticket giveaway will be posted on the relevant social media platform.  Winners have forty eight (48) hours upon being notified by Sponsor to declare acceptance of the prize. If the winner cannot be contacted within this time period the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entrants received. By entering the giveaway the entrants agree to be bound by these rules and the decisions of the judges. The judge’s decisions on winners will be final and binding on all matters relating to the ticket giveaway.  A list of all winners will be made available at the end of the contest on the Sponsor’s social media platform.
  • Conditions. Winners must be able to provide valid state-issued photo identification on the date of the performance to claim tickets from will-call. Participation in this giveaway and acceptance of prize constitutes winner’s permission for Sponsor to use, exploit, adapt, modify, reproduce, distribute and publically display their name, address (city and state), likeness, photograph, picture, portrait, voice, biographical information and/or any statements made by the winner and the winner’s guest regarding the giveaway or Sponsor without notice or additional compensation, except where prohibited by law. By participating, all participants, including all eligible entrants, winners and winners’ guest(s) agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor, its respective advertising and promotion agencies and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers directors and shareholders, from any and all claims and liability, for loss, harm, damage, injury, cost or expense whatsoever including without limitation, property damage, personal injury and/or death which may occur in any way in connection with, preparation for, travel to, or participation in giveaway, or possession, acceptance and/or use or misuse of prize or participation in any giveaway or related giveaway activity and for any claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy and merchandise delivery. Sponsor is not responsible if performance of “Ernie” cannot take place for any reason or if any prize cannot be awarded including, but not limited to due to travel complications or cancellations, delays or interruptions due to acts of God, acts of war, natural disasters or weather. Sponsor maintains the right to offer a substitute prize of equal value. Entrants who do not comply with these rules or conditions or who attempt to interfere with this giveaway in any way shall be disqualified from any of the ticket giveaways that occur during the previously mentioned time period.

New HMO Plan Gives Michigan Consumers the Freedom to Self-Refer to Any Doctor: In or Out of Network

State of Michigan Welcome SignBlue Care Network’s new HMO plan allows patients to self-refer to any doctor whether the doctor is in or outside the network.

In most HMOs, a network of contracted doctors and hospitals provides health care to HMO members who select a primary care physician. This primary care physician then provides and coordinates medical care. Traditionally, HMOs, or health maintenance organizations, do not provide coverage for medical services considered out of network. When health care is not coordinated through the HMO member’s primary care physician, the patient assumes responsibility for the total cost.

Blue Care Network’s Blue Elect Plus HMO is different.


Blue Elect Plus allows members to self-refer to any doctor without a referral, giving employees more freedom of choice than traditional HMOs. It is replacing the Blue Elect Self-Referral OptionSM, which offers limited self-referrals to BCN-approved doctors.

With BCN’s Blue Elect Plus no referrals are needed – ever – whether the doctor is in or out of network. Members pay the least when a doctor or service provider is in BCN’s network.

Managed Care Made Flexible

We heard from Blues agents that customers love the benefits of managed care but wanted a product that offers more flexibility, explained Kathleen Pierce, BCN product development manager.

All in all, we think we have a product that’s right for groups of all sizes, across Michigan, according to Pierce. In one week since launch, agent feedback has been 100 percent positive. “We’re committed to developing the right products at the right time.”

Attractive and Affordable

To make Blue Elect Plus even more attractive, the company rolled in 100 percent coverage of some popular benefits.

Blue Care Network and BCBSM

Blue Care Network is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s subsidiary that administers HMO plans for customers. An HMO is a type of managed care organization that focuses on maintaining and improving health.

Other BCN products for individuals include BlueCaid, MyBlue Medigapsm and OneBluesm. For employers and group customers, BCN has several options, including:

To find an agent who can help you select the right health insurance plan for you or your business, contact us.

Photo credit: jimmywayne

Lansing-Area Residents Log More Than 130,200 Miles To Compete for Wellness Grants in BCBSM’s Blues Community Challenge

Blues Community Challenge Participants Represent their Communities at the Lansing Mall for the End-of-Challenge Celebration

Blues Community Challenge participants represent their communities at the Lansing Mall to Celebrate the end of the eight-week walking wellness challenge

Nine Lansing-area communities walked the equivalent of 4,592 marathons, or more than five times around the Earth’s equator, in an eight-week walking challenge. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan awarded the communities, whose residents logged more than 130,200 miles in the 2011 Community Partners in Health Winter Warm-Up Blues’ Community Challenge, grants to continue encouraging residents to engage in healthy activities.

The challenge encouraged positive lifestyle habits like exercise and healthy eating and participants tracked their physical activity throughout the competition.

At the close of the challenge, BCBSM sponsored a celebration event at the Lansing Mall on April 2 to reward the participating communities with wellness grants. The grants will fund a health and wellness projects within each city or township. The challenge winner, Delhi Township, received a $3,000 grant to support its ongoing commitment to community wellness.

The following communities participated in the walking challenge and received grants from BCBSM to continue supporting community wellness initiatives:

  • Charlotte
  • East Lansing
  • Grand Ledge
  • Lansing
  • Williamston
  • Delhi Township
  • Delta Township
  • Lansing Township
  • Meridian Township

BCBSM’s walking and healthy living advocate, Jodi Davis led several of the challenge events over the course of the eight weeks and helped congratulate the communities and their residents who participated at the challenge’s closing reception. Jodi Davis lost more than 160 pounds nearly 10 years ago by adopting a healthy diet and walking 1.5 miles each and every day. Jodi is also a featured blogger at BCBSM’s Lansing resident and walking weight-loss success, Jon Stanton was also on-hand to help motivate the challenge participants. Jodi and Jon have a close connection: she helped him lose more than 200 pounds and keep it off. See Jon and Jodi in this video recap of the celebration at the Lansing Mall:

For BCBSM’s official press release about the Blues Community Challenge, visit our online newsroom.

For more information about Community Partners in Health initiatives, visit

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Lansing Winter Warm-Up and Blues Community Challenge – you’re all winners!

Renaissance Center Merchants Visit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Offices in Detroit and Southfield

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees from the Metro Service Center in Southfield will be relocating to the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit this spring. The Michigan Blues are committed to downtown, urban areas. To prepare our 3,000 employees and get them excited about the upcoming move, Renaissance Center vendors will be swinging by the Detroit and Southfield offices so that employees can learn more about the exciting array of restaurants, shops and services available in Detroit.

Participating businesses include 15 companies. Menus from many of the dining establishments in the Renaissance Center will be available.

Downtown Detroit businesses outside of the Renaissance Center will introduce employees to the services they offer. In addition, transportation organizations – including SEMCOG, MichiVan, SMART and Royal Transportation – will be featured at the fair with information for employees who are interested in commuter options.

What Detroit restaurants and shops would recommend to our employees who are making the move to the city?


Happy American Heart Month: Community Events Roundup for the Month of February

Snow AngelNo matter where you are in Michigan, there are plenty activities to get your heart pumping a little faster. Join Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and others throughout the state to fight the winter blahs and give your heart a workout.

Winter Warm-Up, Lansing

BCBSM is teaming up with the Community Partners in Health for the 2011 Winter Warm-Up starting Feb. 12 at the Lansing Mall. The Winter Warm-Up is a free eight-week walking and physical activity program that provides tools, information and a community-based support network for all participants. Nine communities from the greater Lansing area will compete for BCBSM wellness grants to finance public health and wellness projects in the community as part of the Blues’ Community Challenge.

Residents from participating communities can register at

Get Moving U.P., Upper Peninsula

Forty two worksite teams across the state are competing through the end of Feb. in an eight-week wellness challenge [PDF].  By the end of week five, 539 participants already logged a total of 28,668 miles.  Participants are learning how to incorporate more moderate and/or vigorous activity into their daily routine. Everyone must reach a minimal goal of 30 minutes on at least 5 days per week.

Blue Cross will donate $1,000 to a health-related charity chosen by the top three competing worksites. The $3,000 donation is part of the Blues unique mission to improve the health of Michigan residents, increase access to care and focus on reducing health care costs and improving health care quality across the state.  The top individual performers will also receive prizes.

Wigglers Win, Detroit

Getting fit is something the whole family can do together. The Vistas Nuevas Head Start program is featuring a new bilingual, family-oriented fitness program called Wigglers Win! The next event, sponsored by Matrix Human Services and the Michigan Blues, is Feb. 24 at 5:00 p.m.

Motown Winter Blast, Detroit

BCBSM is a proud sponsor of the Motown Winter Blast, Feb. 11-13. Fun winter activities include the Ambassador Bridge Snow Slide and ice skating around Campus Martius..

Here at BCBSM, we’re committed to making everyone in Michigan healthier. That’s why we support  community wellness initiatives that encourage both children and adults to get moving, eat better and live healthier lives.

Photo Credit: bookmama

A Day in the Life of a BCBSM ID Card Part Two: Eye Doctor Visit

In part two of this series, the Blues ID card stops at the eye doctor for an annual check- up. They say that eyes are the windows to the soul. But eyes are also the windows to health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. Your eye doctor is sometimes the first person to identify early warning signs of health issues, while treating and helping you manage eye disorders such as glaucoma and cataracts. Keeping up with regular eye examinations can help you maintain total body health.

The Blues ID card is always on the move providing access to discounts and special offers on everything from groceries to fitness gear, and access to quality medical, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage. Stay tuned for more Blues ID card adventures.

For information about Blue Vision visit

Special thanks to the doctors and staff of the Gaylord Eye Care Center for participating in the filming of this video.

Congratulations to Steve Anderson, winner of The Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II

During last week’s nationally-televised Thanksgiving Parade, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s president and CEO Daniel J. Loepp announced this year’swinner of The Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II. Steve Anderson beat out fellow contestants Tia Finney, Greg Czar, Calvin Poellnitz, Mary Beth Klawender and Sandy Ray to take the top spot.

All of the Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition contestants rode on BCBSM’s new “Get Fit” float during the holiday parade.

With the help of his BCBSM health coach, Grace “Dietitian” Arriola-Derocha, Steve rallied to lose 55 pounds, totaling 21 percent of his original body weight.

“I cut out fast food, which I used to have all of the time. And now I eat healthier and work out,” said Steve. “I feel great and hopefully I’ll continue this for the rest of my life.”

We applaud Steve, Tia, Greg, Calvin, Mary Beth and Sandy for their hard work and dedication throughout the contest. In 11 weeks the contestants lost a grand total of 200 pounds.

We hope that they take what they’ve learned from their Blue Cross health coaches and continue to maintain their new, healthier lifestyles.