29 Aug 2019

Meet the Team – Sales

This month we meet Matt Gibson, Director, Business Development. Matt spends his days working with clients, so we asked him for his insights working on our Sales team.

Q: What do you like most about your role?

A: I love meeting new people and building relationships.  Some of the relationships have lasted for many years and will continue for many years into the future.  A close second has to be closing a big deal, and ultimately bringing new business to BCS.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in a sales role?

A: To excel in sales, one needs to have the ability to listen to each client and suggest solutions to their issues.  The solutions may or may not be something that BCS can bring to the table, but it shows that we are all collectively working toward a common goal.

Q: What drew you to BCS?

A: I have worked at BCS for about 3.5 years, and in my prior life, I worked at HCSC for just shy of 15 years.  What drew me to BCS was the chance to work at a smaller company with the goal of being better able to impact change.  Also knowing that BCS plays a major role within BCBS Plans made the decision a little easier.

Q: If you could swap jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

A: I would want to be a hunting guide.  I first started hunting when I was 8 and have done it ever since.  I love nature and being a guide would allow me to be outside watching the world go by.  It would also provide for the ability to meet new people from all walks of life.

Q: Rumor has it you have quite the sock collection. How many pairs do you think you own?

A: The rumor is true, I do have quite the sock collection.  The collection has grown over the years and I probably have close to 50 pairs of colorful dress socks.  Color and design are critical and the more color, the better in my opinion.  Believe it or not, the socks tend to be a simple way to open conversation.

27 Aug 2019

BCS Financial Adopts Blue Health Intelligence’s Predictive Model to Help Health Plan Members with Serious and Expensive Health Conditions Earlier

To view the full press release via BHI, click here.

CHICAGO (August 27, 2019) – BCS Financial Corporation (BCS), which provides insurance and financial products to Blue Cross Blue Shield Companies, has selected Blue Health Intelligence®’s (BHI®) award-winning predictive algorithm to identify members who have or may develop health conditions that cost more than $250,000 a year. The goal is to help individual Blue Plans work with these high cost claimants (HiCCs) to improve their health outcomes and mitigate escalating expenses.

While HiCCs represent fewer than one in 1,000 of all Blue Plan members, they are expected to generate nearly $20 billion in annual costs by 2022. In developing meaningful solutions for this vulnerable population, BHI found that three of every five high cost members are new or emerging, and many suffer from heart disease, cancer, or neurological disorders. The remaining 40% have recurring high costs each year, and typically suffer from chronic conditions such as blood disorders, metabolic illnesses, and renal disease. Contributing factors for all HiCCs include specialty drugs, new genetic therapies, and advanced treatments such as cancer immunotherapy.

The BCS and BHI HiCC solution, currently being implemented by five Blue Plans, is called the High Cost Predictor Algorithm (HCPA). It uses machine learning to efficiently achieve the needle-in-a-haystack work of identifying who among tens of millions of Plan members will reach or exceed more than $250,000 in annual costs, including a few thousand whose care is expected to exceed $1 million per year. Earlier this year, BHI was recognized by MedTech Awards as having the best predictive analytics solution.

“BCS is committed to helping Blue Plans and their members achieve high-quality healthcare at a lower cost through a variety of tools and reinsurance solutions, and we are thrilled to add this leading-edge solution to our cost-containment offerings,” said Peter Costello, BCS Financial’s president and chief operating officer.

BHI specifically trained and validated the HCPA using longitudinal claims information from more than 190 million Americans in its National Data Repository, along with publicly available socioeconomic and claims derived data. BHI’s data scientists evaluated thousands of predictive variables to isolate the clinical complexities, utilization patterns, and contextual factors most closely linked to extremely high costs.

“The combination of BHI’s machine learning, artificial intelligence, and clinical validation make these predictions extremely scalable, actionable, and accurate,” said Swati Abbott, BHI’s CEO. “As a result, BHI is proud to be supporting BCS’ early identification efforts to help lower members’ high costs and improve their health experiences.”

The HCPA is now part of the BCS Risk Navigator suite of cost-containment solutions. Using its National Data Repository, BHI augments the predictive model output with additional historical insights on each member to aid nurse reviewers.

20 Aug 2019
BCS Financial Icon

BCS Financial’s Groundbreaking EssentialCare Line Addresses Mental Health, Named Finalist in 2019 Insurance Nexus Awards

Recognizing mental health and the rising costs of out-of-pocket medical expenses as a growing concern, BCS Financial’s efforts earn recognition as a finalist for the Insurance Nexus New Product of the Year Award.

BCS Financial’s progressive EssentialCare Group Critical Illness product line has been announced as a finalist for the 2019 Insurance Nexus New Product of the Year Award, in addition to the North American Contribution to Society Award. BCS is approaching mental health with a renewed vigor, addressing the issue head-on with its innovative mental health rider, which provides coverage for severe mental illness. The EssentialCare Critical Illness policy provides coverage for up to 35 of the most pervasive critical illnesses, plus eight childhood conditions.

“Our recently launched EssentialCare Group Critical Illness product was nominated for this award because of its new-to-market product feature that provides coverage for those suffering from a severe mental illness,” said Bruce Bahn, Vice President, Product Development at BCS. “While the industry has done an excellent job providing financial protection for physical conditions, a mental illness can be just as debilitating and life-disrupting. We are proud to be the first to bring this coverage to the U.S. market and to be recognized by industry peers.”

The annual Insurance Nexus Award ceremony is the biggest celebration in insurance, held to celebrate the most innovative and passionate movers and shakers on the front lines. This September, the gala will bring together dedicated insurance teams to celebrate the best and brightest in the insurance industry. The black-tie gala is set to take place on Sept. 12 at the Hilton Chicago.

“This recognition is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of a large cross-functional team that has worked to develop and bring this product to market. BCS is honored to be amongst top names in the industry on the list of finalists in two award categories. Congratulations to all the finalists,” Bahn said.

For more information about the awards, visit the website at https://events.insurancenexus.com/awards/. For more information on the EssentialCare Group Critical Illness product, visit bcsf.com.

About BCS Financial

BCS Financial Corporation has more than 70 years of experience delivering a wide range of insurance and financial solutions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations nationwide. Through its subsidiaries, BCS Insurance Company and 4 Ever Life Insurance Company, BCS is licensed in all 50 states and is rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best. BCS Financial is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Learn more at bcsf.com.

About Insurance Nexus

Situated between London’s Silicon Roundabout and the City, Insurance Nexus is at the innovative heart of an industry undergoing significant disruption and innovation. Insurance Nexus is the central hub for insurance executives. Through in-depth industry analysis, targeted research, niche events and quality content, the team provides the industry with a platform to network, discuss, learn and shape the future of the insurance industry.

Nathan Post
​Vice President, Marketing
BCS Financial

Emma Sheard​
General Manager
Insurance Nexus
+44 (0) 207 422 4349

17 Jul 2019

Meet the Team – Product Development

Bruce Bahn, Vice President, Product Development shares a day-in-the-life of the Product Development team at BCS, and provides additional insights into the recent launch of our EssentialCare Accident and Critical Illness policies.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.
A: The Product function at BCS Financial contributes to the growth and profitability of the organization by leading the selection, development, and maintenance of the BCS product portfolio. We are involved in a wide variety of projects which can range from strategic investments and partnerships in new businesses to new and improved features of our current product portfolio. Our key value-add is (to collaborate with business and a functional leaders) to ensure that BCS makes the best decisions in selecting and developing new and improved products incorporating a fact-based view of the customer, the marketplace, competitive set and industry environment.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on now.
A: While I’ve had the opportunity to work on a very diverse set of projects in my first four years at BCS, the most significant project I’ve been involved with is leading the development of our new portfolio of supplemental health products including Hospital Indemnity, Critical Illness, and Accident Insurance. Like BCBS health insurance, these are products that are sold via expert agents and brokers to employers who in turn offer them to their employees as part of their benefits package. Over the last couple of years, a BCS cross-functional team has worked diligently to develop, file, and launch market-leading products that offer innovative benefits, product features, and broker / customer support capabilities. The effort to design comprehensive and flexible products for a broad range of employer sizes and needs (100-10,000+ employees) and obtain approval for all three products in all 51 states and jurisdictions has been a significant undertaking. July 2019 is the milestone month for our formal market launch with approved products in as many as 75% of country with the expectation for full nationwide availability by the end of the year. Because we are a relatively new competitor, I suspect it will take some time for the market to recognize everything BCS is bringing to the market with this new portfolio. However, given the scale of the opportunity and continued growth of the supplemental health benefits market, I see tremendous future opportunity for BCS and its’ owners.

Q: What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?
A: For me, the most rewarding aspects of new product development are those somewhat rare occasions when you can meaningfully add to the value that a product provides a customer in new or unique way. In reviewing numerous critical illness insurance product filings from established competitors, it was apparent that they all did a very good in providing customers with the essential financial support in the event of a serious physical ailment. However, none of the products I reviewed included a benefit for those inflicted with a serious mental illness. To me this was a clear gap in the coverage that BCS had the opportunity to address. So with the help of our actuarial partners, we developed a special rider that provides a benefit when a BCS EssentialCare critical illness policyholder is diagnosed with the three most common kinds of serious mental health conditions: Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Schizophrenia. This new-to-market solution can provide a needed financial support if a person’s mental illness disrupts their life in the same way as a physical condition.

Q: Describe the perfect day off.
A: A walk along the Lake Michigan shore on a beautiful summer day with my family and our dogs.

Q: What’s one non-insurance product you can’t live without?
A: The amount and pace of innovation is the greatest it’s ever been. So many new products will be emerging in the 5-10 years that will address needs we didn’t even know we had. The process of exchanging information will be at the heart of many of these new solutions for daily living, health care delivery, financial services, etc. So while it’s a predictable answer, I’m going to say the product I couldn’t live without is the smartphone. It is and will continue to be at the very center of information exchange at a personal level.

08 Jul 2019

BCS Financial Announces New EssentialCare Accident and Critical Illness Products

BCS Financial, a national insurance organization owned by all 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans, announces today it has expanded its EssentialCare line of products to include Group Accident and Group Critical Illness policies. The products, underwritten by BCS Insurance Company, help protect consumers from the rising costs of out-of-pocket medical expenses.

“Research shows us that many Americans with health insurance struggle to pay for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, leaving them at financial risk,” said BCS Financial Senior Vice President, Marketing, Product, and Strategic Ventures, James Drew. “Ancillary products like Accident, Critical Illness, and Hospital Indemnity can help bridge the gap and offer financial protection when a serious accident, injury, or illness occurs.”

EssentialCare Group Accident Indemnity and Critical Illness join the Hospital Indemnity product launched Fall 2018 to create a suite of easy, affordable, and adaptable solutions for employers and their employees. All products include:

·         Guaranteed issue, with no networks or coordination of benefits

·         Flexible plan design, enrollment, and onboarding options

·         Broad set of benefits from which to choose

·         Fixed payments made directly to the member to spend as they choose

·         Best-in-class administration

·         A unique suite of caregiver and support service coverages in eligible states, such as wellness, dependent adult and child care, transportation, lodging, and more

Accident Indemnity

The EssentialCare Accident policy features up to 54 benefit types, including a Non-Professional Organized Sports benefit and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) benefit built into the certificate. 24-hour and off-the-job coverage is available.

Critical Illness

The EssentialCare Critical Illness policy provides coverage for up to 35 of the most significant and frequent critical illnesses, plus eight childhood conditions. The product is a finalist for the Insurance Nexus “New Product of the Year Award”, thanks to its new-to-market, groundbreaking mental health rider available to provide coverage for severe mental illness.

“EssentialCare products are modular and adaptable to provide the most options for employer groups,” Drew said. “We have a robust set of benefits to fit employer needs and underlying plan designs – whether a group is looking for a base plan with HSA compatibility, or a benefit-rich design to support employee lifestyles, we can provide the coverage they need.”

All EssentialCare products are underwritten by BCS Insurance Company, and available exclusively through BCS brokers and the BCS Insurance Agency. To learn more about BCS Financial, visit bcsf.com.

About BCS Financial Corporation

BCS Financial Corporation has more than 70 years of experience delivering a wide range of insurance and financial solutions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations nationwide. Through its subsidiaries, BCS Insurance Company and 4 Ever Life Insurance Company, BCS is licensed in all 50 states and is rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best. BCS Financial is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. Learn more at bcsf.com.

About EssentialCare Group Products

ESSENTIALCARE LIMITED BENEFIT, GROUP ACCIDENT, GROUP CRITICAL ILLNESS AND GROUP HOSPITAL INDEMNITY ARE LIMITED BENEFIT POLICIES – READ YOUR POLICY CAREFULLY. THESE POLICIES ARE NOT MAJOR MEDICAL INSURANCE AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR MAJOR MEDICAL COVERAGE. BCS EssentialCare insurance products are underwritten by BCS Insurance Company, OH (Administrative Offices: Oakbrook Terrace, IL). See policy documents for a complete description of benefits, exclusions, limitations, and conditions of coverage. Features and availability by vary by location and are subject to change. In some states, EssentialCare products are pending regulatory approval.


For more information, please contact Nathan Post at 630.472.7860.

26 Jun 2019

Meet the Team – Compliance

Our June Meet the Team post features Michele O’Doherty, Manager, Policy Development and Issuance. Read on as Michele gives us a peek into the Compliance Department.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.

A: The Compliance team’s role in the organization is very diverse. We provide direction and support in the development and filing of new products to ensure product forms are compliant with federal and state laws, and approved by the applicable state regulatory agencies. In addition, the Compliance Department is responsible for review of managed care requirements and reporting, state annual reporting and data calls, coordinating state market conduct exams, tracking and responding to consumer complaints, and disseminating new laws and regulations to maintain and ensure existing products are in compliance. We work with all internal operational departments and external business partners to provide support, guidance, and oversight.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: Busy – Every day brings on new challenges, opportunities, and collaboration in seeking solutions to situations that need to be dealt with.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: Strong interpersonal skills such as team work, dependability, and flexibility; good written and oral communication skills, analytical skills, and attention to detail.

Q: What do you like most about working at BCS?

A: The people, the opportunities, and the collaboration with a group of dedicated people.

Q: The Compliance department ensures the company follows insurance regulation and rules. What’s the “golden rule” you live by? 

A: Always do what is right.

21 Jun 2019
Summer Sun...and Accidents?


Today marks the official first day of summer, and with that comes warmer weather, longer days – and accidents?

It’s true. All the great things we love about summer like cookouts and pool parties can also translate to accidents and injuries. According to Kaiser Permanente, there is a 15 to 27% increase in visits to emergency rooms between Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Top summer medical issues include:

  • Heat-related illnesses
  • Drowning and other pool injuries, like slips and falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Food poisoning
  • Burns and cuts

Are your clients protecting their employees this summer? EssentialCare Group Accident Indemnity provides fixed benefits in the event of a covered accident or injury, helping employees pay for major medical deductibles, copays, and more. And, it can be sold year-round, meaning you don’t have to wait for the 1/1 selling season to offer to your clients!

Contact BCS today to learn more.

05 Jun 2019

Peter Costello named President and Chief Operating Officer of BCS Financial Corporation

BCS Financial Corporation announces today that Peter Costello has been appointed as President and Chief Operating Officer of BCS Financial Corporation, effective May 21. Scott Beacham will remain as Chief Executive Officer through November 30.

“We’re pleased to welcome Peter Costello in his newly expanded role as President and Chief Operating Officer of BCS Financial Corporation,” said Dan Loepp, Chairman of the BCS Board of Directors. “During this time of transformation in the healthcare industry, we are confident that Peter possesses the experience, perspective, and capabilities necessary to lead and grow BCS in the coming years.”

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be asked to lead this successful team of talented and dedicated associates during this period of dramatic change in our industry,” said Costello. “I look forward to everything we can accomplish together, while continuing to provide the growth, diversification, and protection solutions our customers expect from us.”

Costello, who previously served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, brings more than 20 years of experience in healthcare and technology to his new role. Prior to joining BCS in 2014, Costello was Senior Vice President at Cogito Corp., a behavior analytics company named by Inc. Magazine as one of 2014’s fastest growing companies. Peter served as Vice President at both Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Excellus Health Plan, and co-founded two technology-based startups. Peter also served as an officer in the United States Navy and holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Providence College, a Masters Certificate in Systems Engineering from University of California, Irvine, and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance and Statistics from the University of Illinois.

Scott Beacham, who has served as the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board since March 2008, will continue his role as Chief Executive Officer until November 30, 2019. Beacham possesses
40 years of experience with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, previously serving as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Excellus Health Plan, Inc., and as a business advisor for Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc., a Washington, D.C. affiliate of CareFirst, Inc.

“Scott Beacham is an exceptional business leader who has served the company with dedication and pride during his tenure. Over the past decade, he has transformed the culture of BCS Financial Corporation into one that supports, protects, and enhances the success of Blue Companies across the country. His vision, along with his commitment to excellence, has enabled BCS to consistently deliver for its shareholders and left a lasting mark on the organization,” said Dan Loepp. “On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank Scott for his contributions to BCS and wish him well in his future pursuits.”

31 May 2019

Meet the Team – Underwriting

This month, Hilda Ayala, Voluntary Benefits Analyst, shares insights to her job in Underwriting, and what she’s experienced since joining Team BCS in November 2018.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: There’s no typical day at BCS, everything depends on the time of year. Fourth quarter is our busiest season for new business and renewals; during the first and second quarter, we focus on updating underwriting and related business materials, cross training in all areas of our department, and creating a more efficient workflow for the coming fourth quarter.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I love the challenge, and how my manager constantly believes in me. She has pushed me on projects that I thought were way beyond my abilities.

Q: What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?

A: In my short 7 months, I have participated in many projects, but my favorite was my first project on “policy fulfillment”. Contracts and Underwriting had recently joined as one team, and cross training was crucial and completed in less than two weeks. The goal was to release over 400 policies, which was accomplished in less than two months! It was a great satisfaction to know I had joined the best team.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: Willingness to learn and the ability to work as part of a team is very important.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Teamwork, Fun, and Fast-paced

25 Apr 2019

Meet the Team – Investments

Meet Anthony Bongiorno, Manager, Investments and Client Relations and get to know his role at BCS.

Q: Describe your major responsibilities at BCS.

A: My role at BCS is dual focused. I am responsible for managing the investment assets of BCS.  I am also a part of the Financial Services Solutions segment at BCS, which includes operating and marketing Plan Investment Fund, a SEC registered mutual fund company with a singular focus on Blue Cross Blue Shield entities.

Q: What key projects are you working on now?

A: We are currently exploring creating a BCS Cash Portal exclusively for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which would allow Blues to invest in a diversified suite of liquidity products.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that each day is different from the next. Depending on what time of year it is my focus can either be on our investment performance and manager evaluation, marketing Plan Investment Fund, exploring ways we can add value to Blue Plans through our Financial Services Solutions or helping to foster the “having fun, getting things done” culture we have at BCS through my work on the Culture Team.

Q: What drew you to work for BCS?

A: I was interested in a company where I could dive deeper into the investment world and also be a part of a firm where I could make an impact. Coming from a large company where it was much harder to make an impression, I was drawn to the opportunity that BCS presented of working on a small team within Financial Services at a company with a very unique mission. BCS is a community of individuals working together versus a hierarchy of different roles and responsibilities. Everyone’s work and opinions matter and are integral to the success and culture of the organization.

Q: What’s your favorite way to invest in yourself?

A: My favorite way to invest in myself is through reading, always asking questions and putting the work in. There are certain people you come across in life that it seems like things come as second nature to them, whether it be in their career or a hobby. I have always been a person where if I have a desire to learn or get better at something, I need to read, talk to people about it and practice at it. I believe that any person can succeed in any career or hobby if they put their mind to it. For me to do that I need to continue learning.