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Category: Blog

21 Oct 2020

New Whitepaper from BCS Highlights Healthcare Alternatives for Post-Pandemic Workforce

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimates that the economy could take the better part of a decade to fully recover from the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns.

Employers may be cautious about returning to business as usual; instead, many are cutting costs and managing expenses, filling vacancies with part-time roles, and/or increasing their intermittent employee population. This post-pandemic workforce brings forward new challenges about how to provide healthcare to part-time and intermittent employees.

Download the whitepaper today to learn about alternatives that may be available for your clients.

20 Oct 2020
Critical Illness Awareness Month

Offer a Solution Your Clients Need This Critical Illness Awareness Month

2020 marks the 10th anniversary of National Critical Illness Awareness Month, recognized annually in October.

This year over 1.8 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer[1]. Some 790,000 individuals will have a heart attack and almost as many will have a stroke[2]. These critical illnesses can leave many in financial ruin – as high deductibles, copays, and coinsurance add up.

As clients offer benefits enrollment in the Fall, October is an ideal time to highlight the ancillary products like critical illness that can play a pivotal role in a member’s healthcare solution, by offering them financial support when they need it most.

EssentialCare Group Critical Illness[3] pays a lump-sum benefit upon diagnosis of a covered illness or life-changing health event. Employees can use payments to pay for major medical copays and deductibles, or additional expenses like transportation, child care, and more to help fill gaps in their healthcare coverage. EssentialCare Group Critical Illness includes:

  • Coverage for up to 35 adult and 8 childhood illnesses, plus support service coverages including wellness, dependent adult and child care, and more
  • Modular, adaptable plan designs can be tailored to complement client need and underlying major medical
  • Easy administration with a simple RFQ process, best-in-class administration and claims adjudication
  • Award-winning, first-of-its-kind mental health rider that provides coverage for a severe mental illness event

For more information, contact BCS today, or visit

[1], 2020 Facts

[2] Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical 2020 Update, American Heart Association

[3] Coverage for the Critical Illness plan underwritten by BCS Insurance Company is considered guaranteed issue provided: 1) the employee is actively at work; and2) the employee and all covered dependents are enrolled in a major medical health plan that meets minimum essential coverage requirements as provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).



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.

15 Oct 2020
Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Are You Protected? National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

For the past 17 years, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) has been informing Americans on the best ways to protect themselves from cyber attacks. This year’s theme, “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” comes at a time when millions of people are working from home and may be more susceptible to an online threat. Now is a great time to secure your home and work devices from attack.

Over the next few weeks, NCSAM and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will have different themes you can follow along with (week 3 is Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare), or you can see their resources all at one time. Here is a sample from their Tip Sheet on “5 Ways to be Cyber Secure at Work”:

  1. Treat business information as personal information. Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.
  2. Be up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it and set your security software to run regular scans.
  3. It only takes one time. Data breaches do not typically happen when a cybercriminal has hacked into an organization’s infrastructure. Many data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability, phishing attempt, or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unusual sources, do not click on unknown links, and delete suspicious messages immediately. For more information about email and phishing scams see the Phishing Tip Sheet.

To see all the tips and additional resources, please visit

13 Oct 2020
BCS Important News

BCS Financial Outlook Upgraded to Positive by AM Best

BCS Financial Corporation’s outlook was upgraded to Positive by AM Best, a nationally recognized statistical rating organization overseen by the Securities Exchange Commission. 

CHICAGO Oct. 13, 2020 – BCS Financial (BCS), delivering a wide range of insurance and financial solutions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations nationwide, has earned an upgraded outlook of Positive by AM Best. Several factors that influenced the revision include BCS’s sustained growth and long-term strategy, its strengthening business profile, and expanded portfolio, including its EssentialCare line featuring the first-of-its-kind mental health insurance coverage.

“Insurance is all about a guarantee and a promise,” says Peter Costello, President and CEO of BCS Financial Corporation. “Our plan is to continue to adapt with the changing marketplace while continuing to provide product solutions that customers expect from us.”

Over the past year, BCS has launched new group voluntary accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity products to capture emerging opportunities driven by growing deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. The EssentialCare Critical Illness policy provides coverage to 35 of the most pervasive critical illnesses, plus eight childhood conditions. Additionally, it features a first-of-its-kind optional rider to provide coverage for four severe mental health crises: severe major depressive disorder, severe bipolar I disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. In 2019, BCS’s progressive EssentialCare Group Critical Illness product was awarded both the 2019 Insurance Nexus New Product of the Year Award, as well as the North American Contribution to Society Award.

“Our EssentialCare Critical Illness product, with its mental health rider, is just one example of how BCS lives its mission to protect customers with innovative and easy-to-use insurance and financial solutions,” said Costello.

Owned by all 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, BCS continues to see momentum following the appointment of its new Chief Executive Officer in 2019, Peter Costello, who served as VP at both Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Excellus Health Plan, bringing a wealth of experience and leadership to continue taking BCS forward and move the company towards its next stage of development.

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 AM Best. BCS Financial is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Learn more at

07 Oct 2020
Camp One Step

BCS Raises Nearly $12K for Camp One Step via Power of One Challenge

BCS is proud to support Camp One Step through the Power of One Challenge. The BCS team achieved incredible results this year:

  • Distance Completed: 4,763 miles
  • Money Raised: $11,891

This donation helps provide virtual programming for one week for 18 campers!

Thanks to all who participated to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer.

06 Oct 2020
BCS Important News

BCS Announces Expansion of Risk Navigator Solution Set With Acquisition of Medical Risk Managers, Inc.

Acquisition joins two specialized Stop Loss Insurance and Excess of Loss Reinsurance underwriters

BCS Financial Corporation (BCS) announced today it has acquired Medical Risk Managers, Inc. (MRM), a market-leading provider of Stop Loss pricing and underwriting services.

As a market-leading insurer and reinsurer, BCS protects more than six million medical, supplemental, and travel customers. With this acquisition, MRM’s comprehensive managing general underwriting service model becomes an additional feature included in BCS’s Risk Navigator solution set, a highly predictive and actionable approach to managing carrier and employer large claim risks.

“For three decades, BCS has provided our customers with a portfolio of products and services designed to help flatten the growth of large claim risks,” said Peter Costello, president and chief executive officer of BCS Financial. “BCS’s acquisition of MRM advances our efforts to provide a comprehensive solution-set for our customers.”

In conjunction with MRM, BCS and its customers immediately gain access to market-leading Stop Loss pricing, underwriting, and case management capabilities. MRM and its customers, meanwhile, benefit by gaining increased access to BCS and its broad portfolio of complementary products, including Excess of Loss, Stop Loss, International Health, Limited Benefit, and Group Supplemental insurance.

“It’s undeniable that the volume and severity of High Cost Claimants is a growing problem for self-funded employers,” said Mehb Khoja, president of MRM. “Our new alignment enables both BCS and MRM to grow by sharing strengths, capabilities, and market access.”

Under BCS’s ownership, Khoja will continue as president of MRM, which will remain headquartered in South Windsor, Connecticut.

About BCS Financial Corporation (BCS)

For over 70 years, BCS Financial Corporation has delivered a wide-range of insurance and financial solutions primarily designed for Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations and their customers 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

About Medical Risk Managers, Inc. (MRM)

For over 35 years, Medical Risk Managers, Inc. has underwritten Stop Loss insurance on behalf of its insurance carrier partners. As a managing general underwriter, MRM has underwritten over $4 billion in Stop Loss premium since its inception. Among its capabilities, MRM is able to price Stop Loss coverage at any deductible level, over any network, and in any zip code nationwide. MRM is headquartered in South Windsor, Connecticut. Learn more at

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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 ( – 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

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.