28 Sep 2020
Christopher Halsey

Meet the Team – Service and Operations

This month, Chris Halsey, director, Service Partner Management (and resident “Top Gun” enthusiast), shares some of the projects he’s been working on, and how he’s adapted to virtual vendor and relationship management.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.   

A: I continue to work on refining our new administrative platform, and configuring it to support our EssentialCare products.  This includes creating and adding customer communication pieces, customizing the portal technology, and automating the information feeds to downstream systems.

I have really enjoyed working on this project as it allows me to work with many different areas and individuals in BCS.  It was a great honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of implementing this platform during my first year and a half at BCS.

Q: What is the number one skill someone in your role needs to succeed?

A: Negotiation skills.  I consider myself more of a “generalist” and need the support and knowledge of the experts in the different areas of BCS to help me.  Negotiation skills are critical when trying to convince someone to put aside their day job and help me with my project or initiative.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Working with just about all areas in the company and multiple individuals.

Q: You work with vendors all over the country. What tips do you have for managing virtual partnerships?

A: Develop a sense of humor, of which I am still working on.  I always feel laughter is a good way to build partnerships, in the right moment. The key is knowing when it is the appropriate time.

Q: What’s your favorite way to relax? 

A: Ever since I started using my Fitbit, I enjoy walking and biking to see how many steps and miles I can accumulate in a day.  When not competing in my imaginary Olympics, I enjoy watching movies and several different streaming series.  And in case you did not know it, I’m a closet Top Gun fan!   Well, maybe an open-door closet that has an F14 flying out of it.

23 Sep 2020
Culture Badge from Enerage

BCS Earns 2020 Culture Badge from Energage

There has been much written about an organization’s culture – and what exactly that entails. Most thought leaders agree that a simple definition is “the way we get work done around here.” But of course, there’s more to a company’s culture than just how we do things.

At BCS, we understand that strategies, products, and services can be copied, but our culture is unique to us. At the core of our culture is letting employee voices be heard, and that’s why we regularly survey our team members and benchmark results against our industry’s Best in Class.

Based on our 2020 survey feedback – in which 90% of employees responded – BCS was awarded the “Clued In Employees” badge from Energage.

This badge means that BCS ranked in the top 25% of organizations when it comes to employees feeling “clued in” about what’s going on in the company. We are proud to be recognized with this distinction, especially now, while many of still work and receive company information virtually.

Corporate culture is an important aspect of life at BCS, and we thank all of our teammates who engage and work each and every day to be part of our culture.

16 Sep 2020
BCS Important News

BCS Announces Partnership with 2nd.MD to Improve Member Healthcare Cost, Quality, and Outcomes

Partnership will deliver free, top-tier medical navigation and second opinion virtual consultation for members facing complex diagnoses and treatments

CHICAGO, September 16, 2020 (Newswire.com) – BCS Financial (BCS) announces today it has partnered with 2nd.MD to provide top-tier medical navigation, expert consultation, and personalized second opinions to 4M policyholders. Under the agreement, members covered under BCS Stop Loss and Excess of Loss policies can work with highly skilled, experienced nurses to help them navigate diagnoses, virtually connect with elite doctors who specialize in their specific condition, and receive assistance finding a local doctor or specialist in their area – at no cost to them.

As the number one reinsurer of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, BCS offers a wide range of products and services to help insurance carriers and their members navigate healthcare costs, particularly those exceeding $500K annually. The partnership is one of several features included in BCS Financial’s Risk Navigator solutions, a highly predictive and actionable approach to managing claims risk.

“Second opinions can play a vital part in ensuring healthcare costs are not wasted on unnecessary or incorrect care,” said Peter Costello, president and chief executive officer, BCS Financial. “BCS is committed to helping our policyholders and their members manage their risks, while improving healthcare outcomes.”

Members see direct benefit from the second opinion consultation. “Members facing a complex diagnosis, surgery, or healthcare decision often find it difficult to navigate the healthcare system and manage costs,” said Chris Kurtenbach, vice president, Services & Operations, BCS Financial. “With this partnership, we can help members get the appropriate care they need by connecting them with board-certified, elite specialists from top medical institutions, and reducing their costs along the way.”

In many cases, the second opinion can change the treatment trajectory – 85% of 2nd.MD’s consultations result in improved treatment plans, 35% lead to alternative diagnoses, and nearly 30% of surgery consults result in surgery cancellation.

This is an especially important service as the market for gene therapy and cellular immunotherapy continues to ramp up. An estimated 50-75 therapies will be approved for the US market by 2030, with costs for cellular immunotherapies averaging around $400K, and gene therapy costs estimated in the $2-$4M range. For those with complex cancers, rare or orphan conditions, and aggressive recommendations, access to top specialists can make all the difference.

“Better care and outcomes for members is always our priority,” said Costello. “This partnership is just one of the ways we are delivering value to our Blue Cross and Blue Shield partners and their members by helping them continue to manage healthcare costs and quality.”

This service is currently available to members covered by BCS Stop Loss and Excess of Loss policies.

About BCS Financial Corporation (BCS)

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 2nd.MD

2nd.MD offers medical certainty by connecting you with board-certified, leading specialists from across the country for an expert second opinion via video or phone within three to five days, from the comfort of your own home. From the minute you reach out, 2nd.MD’s Care Team of nurses will put you at the center of your medical care by coordinating all the details. This includes, understanding your health goals, gathering all of your medical records and connecting you with a doctor who specializes in your specific medical condition, so that you can focus on what matters most — getting the best care possible. No travel. No hassle. No cost. If you haven’t used 2nd.MD before, it can be life changing. In fact, 98% of people who use 2nd.MD recommend it to their friends and family.

For more information, please contact Nathan Post at 630.472.7860.

17 Aug 2020
Meet the team - Nadia Nelson - Director Business Development

Meet the Team – Business Development

This month, we learn about Director of Business Development Nadia Nelson. A month into her new role, Nadia shares what brought her to BCS and how her past experience with Blue Cross Blue Shield will help move her – and BCS – forward.

Q: What do you like most about your job? 

A: I am only a month in but so far, I really like that I’ve able to work with so many different clients and partners. I’m a very social person, so, being able to interact with so many new people has been very exciting.

Q: What brought you to BCS? / Why BCS?

A: It was a great opportunity that presented itself to really grow in my career and expand my relationships within the Blues family. One of my good friends from my previous company joined the BCS team a few years ago and that helped with the move. To know that I would already have a friend at BCS, especially when starting during a global pandemic, made the transition a lot easier.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Driven, supportive, hard-working.

Q: What have you been up to during the recent quarantine?

A: My husband and I recently bought a house and moved to the suburbs from the city. Once quarantine hit, I quickly went to work to get our back deck and yard up to par to enjoy some alfresco living.

05 Aug 2020

Stop Loss 2021: Uncertainty is the Only Certainty

Employers are looking at an uncertain future as they mitigate the current pandemic crisis on top of predictive numbers of health insurance costs in 2021. Large, self-insured organizations worry that due to their employees reducing their use of coverage because of at-home orders and safety precautions, there will be a surge in sickness and procedures in the next year. That is in addition to increased COVID-19 testing that many businesses require for employees to return to work in the office. These companies worry they are going to see a rate increase of at least 3 to 4.5%*, if not more.

Unfortunately, it is hard to accurately confirm the rise in cost. According to analysts at PwC’s Health Research Institute, “there’s so much uncertainty because of the COVID-19 disruption that it’s difficult to pinpoint whether medical-cost trends will be significantly lower or higher next year”. With this in mind, the best thing our industry can do for our clients is continuing to educate ourselves on these trends and inform them on changes that could affect their health insurance needs.

BCS is dedicated to providing best in class Stop Loss products and sharing our expertise with our partners. Our annual conference Sept 1-3 (VIRTUAL) will cover a variety of topics with leading industry experts. We encourage your participation and hope you can join in on the conversation. As we look towards 2021, the only certainty we have is that things continue to change and we need to be prepared for a variety of outcomes while keeping a positive focus on our employer groups.
For more information about Stop Loss, or our Risk Navigator Conference, contact Kendal Sasso.

*SOURCE: Coronavirus outbreak is already upending health insurance premiums and copays for next year, by Bertha Coombs, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/15/coronavirus-already-upends-2021-health-insurance-premiums-and-copays.html
20 Jul 2020
Sasha Jimenez - Senior Communications Specialist

Meet the Team – Marketing & Communications

Internal communications are an important aspect of any company, but they are especially critical in the face of a pandemic. Sasha Jimenez, senior communication specialist, gives us a peek into some of the work she has done during the COVID-19 crisis to support BCS with communications, culture, and community service.

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

A: Each day is so unique, which is one of the things I enjoy most about my job. My primary responsibilities fall under corporate communications however, we are a small but mighty team so there are many times I get involved in other projects as well. I’m also on our Culture Team and lead the Community Service Team which adds in even more variety to my days.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.

A: With everyone working from home for the past couple of months we had to come up with ways to keep everyone engaged virtually. It was interesting to figure out how to keep everyone connected and keep the culture alive without actually physically being in the office.

An important aspect of our culture is helping others in our community. We organize community service activities quarterly and wanted to keep that going during a time like this. We were able to organize donations to causes like the Oakbrook Area Coronavirus Relief Fund, Dupage Meals on Wheels, Dupage Pads, and provide hospital meal trains. To get employees involved, and to support small businesses, all employees received gift cards to use at their favorite local restaurants for carry-out. In addition, we wanted to find a way to stay connected, so we began a weekly View From My Desk series where employees submitted photos, tips, and updates for that week.

Q: How long have you been with the company? What’s kept you at BCS?

A: I’ve been with BCS for six years and a huge part of what has kept me here is the people. Being surrounded by knowledgeable and dependable people that can also make you laugh throughout the day has been the greatest thing! I am able to interact with everyone across all levels and departments in the company which gives me the opportunity to learn so many new things. That leads me to the second reason I stay at BCS – they encourage development and are always open to new innovative ideas. If you want to get involved on a team and have a way to improve a process or innovate a product to stand out in the market, they are open ears.

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

A: Ben E. Fits … our department puppet and mascot. He’s the real brains behind it all. I’ll just leave it at that.

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?

A: I was born in Germany and visit there often. I have also been to Paris, Budapest, Prague, and Jamaica, just to name a few of the beautiful places I have been. However, I think at the end of the day my favorite place in the world is just at home, sitting in the backyard with my husband and watching our daughter run around and play!

22 Jun 2020
Meet the Team - Executive Assistant - Annette Chase

Meet the Team – Executive Administration

As Executive Assistant to our President and CEO, and an active member of several internal teams and committees, Annette Chase sees more of the company than most. Read on for her take on life at BCS, and the skills she needs to succeed in her role.

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

A: I am the Executive Assistant to Peter Costello, our President and Chief Executive Officer. My main responsibility is taking care of everything he may need on a day-to-day basis, which mainly consists of travel, calendar, and meeting coordination both internally and externally. Most important is our Board Meetings which includes material gathering and distributing, meeting logistics, reports, presentations, meeting minutes, etc. There are often one-off requests from others in the organization, and I am more than happy to oblige as it allows me to work across departments and make sure people are getting whatever help they need.

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

A: Luckily, I don’t have a typical day at BCS. Aside from being an EA, I am also on the Communications Team, the Culture Team and two subcommittees within that group called ePal (Event Planning and Logistics) and Community Service, and I also co-lead our Wellness Team. While the business side of my role is extremely important, I think employee morale and culture is just as important and I take great pride in getting to be able to help coordinate events and programs that are focused around our employees. My love for throwing an event has really come in handy! Being a part of these groups has confirmed that no two days are the same.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: The first is that I really value someone depending on me and knowing that if they ask me to do something, I will get it done. The other is the ability to work across different functions. I am in a rare spot that I have access to our entire Executive Leadership team, as well as many others at different levels of the organization and I get to see our company from all angles. Not many roles get this type of insight and accessibility and I believe it has allowed me to perform my job better.

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

A: I think the single most important skill for an Executive Assistant is interpersonal skills. Assistants work with a wide range of people and personalities, and the ability to adjust and adapt is something that cannot be taught but is crucial. The other top skills are the ability to multi-task, flexibility, attention to detail and communication.

Q: Rumor has it you are quite the party planner, what has been your favorite event to plan and why?

A: The Holiday Party is my absolute favorite event to plan. I think it is the perfect way to come together and have great food, good drinks, laugh, dance, and give a thanks to all the employees for their hard work all year. I really enjoy DIY crafts and projects, and I have a great time coming up with the theme and decorations and seeing it all come together.

18 Jun 2020

EssentialCare Offers Support for Caregivers During Illness, Injury, or Hospitalization

In the 2019/2020 “Caregiving and the Workplace: Employer Benchmarking Survey” by the Northeast Business Group on Health, a significant majority of respondents (78%) said that caregiving would be an increasingly important issue over the next five years. The survey was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only accentuated the already growing number of employees shouldering caregiving responsibilities.

In fact, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 34 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult aged 50 or older in the last 12 months. As this number continues to grow, EssentialCare group voluntary products can help. EssentialCare Accident, Critical Illness, and Hospital Indemnity provide a lump-sum benefit in the event of an injury, illness, or hospitalization. Payments can be used to pay for major medical copays and deductibles, or additional expenses to help fill gaps in employees’ healthcare coverage.

The products offer a wide-range of coverage options to suite client needs, including benefits that support caring for dependent adult, children, and even pets*. These coverages can provide additional support by providing fixed payments to caregivers when they face the additional burden of an injury, illness, or hospitalization. For more information about EssentialCare and its support service coverages, visit essentialcare.com.




*Not all benefits available in all states. See policy for details.


BCS EssentialCare insurance is 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. Not all benefits available in all states. Features and availability vary by location, and are subject to change. Some products may be pending regulatory approval in certain states.

28 May 2020

BCS Provides $20,000 to Oak Brook Community in Partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

BCS Financial is committed to supporting our customers and our communities, now more than ever.

Through the assistance of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, BCS has received a $20,000 grant that will allow us to amplify our support of the following local non-profit organizations:

  • DuPage Pads: DuPage Pads provides interim and permanent housing and support services to end homelessness
  • DuPage Senior Citizens Council: DuPage Senior Citizens Council initiates, delivers, monitors, and coordinates services, such as Meals on Wheels, that promote the ability of older persons to live their lives in dignity

BCS has also contributed to the Oakbrook Area Coronavirus Relief Fund via the Oakbrook Chamber of Commerce.

We are proud to participate in this initiative with Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, and to continue to support our community during this time of need. #BCSCares