A message from Jeff Russell, president and CEO

For Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), the start of 2024 provides a special opportunity for reflection and gratitude.

This year, BCBSNE celebrates our 85th anniversary. As we celebrate this milestone, we’re taking this time to thank our members, the hospitals, doctors and other health care providers we’ve partnered with over the years to make health care more accessible and affordable for Nebraskans, as well as the brokers who have helped their customers enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with carrying a Blue Cross and Blue Shield ID card. We are also celebrating the generations of BCBSNE employees who have put our members at the center of everything we do since 1939.

I was honored to become part of this legacy when I joined BCBSNE in June 2023 as the company’s new president and CEO. Becoming a member of Team Blue gives all of us the opportunity to support people in both the best and hardest moments of their lives. From celebrating the birth of a child to navigating a difficult diagnosis, for more than eight decades, our members have relied on us to be there when they need us. And in our next 85 years, we aim to be more than just an insurance company.

After all these years, caring about our members remains at the center of everything we do. At BCBSNE, we are a champion for the health and well-being of our members and the communities we serve. Our work impacts people’s lives, and it’s an honor to support our members and Nebraska’s communities every day. While we will always be there when our members need us, we also aspire to help each and every member live their best and healthiest life.

A look into BCBSNE’s archives provides several examples of how despite changing times, we’ve been there for our members and Nebraska communities.

Supporting our members from Day One

This newborn’s arrival in the early 1950s led to a milestone in benefits paid out by BCBSNE, which we celebrated back in the day with mom and baby. We have been honored to be part of the lives of so many generations of members—from newborns getting their start in the world to retirees beginning a new chapter and catching a second wind.

We’ve continued to be part of our members’ stories over the years, including Nicole, a small business owner in Kearney. When Nicole was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022, her previous health plan wasn’t giving her the support or protection she needed. That fall, Nicole worked with her longtime insurance agent to find a better coverage option. He steered her to BCBSNE’s HeartlandBlue plan, which gave her access to the care she needed from trusted local doctors. You can read more of Nicole’s story here.

Left: A newborn baby celebrates a milestone with BCBSNE. Right: Nicole, a BCBSNE member and breast cancer survivor.

Lifting up our community

Throughout the years, we’ve remained committed to supporting Nebraskans and their communities. BCBSNE’s participation in the annual United Way of the Midlands (UWM) campaign provides an excellent example of that commitment. It’s one of our longest-running giving traditions.

Every year during the UWM campaign, Team Blue comes together to raise funds (and have a little fun). Fundraising activities have varied from year to year, but one thing always remains the same: The spirit of volunteerism and caring for the community our employees have shown by donating their time and money. It’s an important part of who we are.

In 2023, our employees raised nearly $390,000 for UWM. This is just one example of our workforce’s giving spirit, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish with our numerous community partners throughout the state in our next chapter.

Left: The cover of a BCBSNE employee newsletter from 1978 promoting the company’s annual UWM campaign. Right: Employees participating in a volunteer event during BCBSNE’s 2023 UWM campaign.

Reflecting on our past, anticipating our future

Anniversaries come and go. Times change. But I have no doubt that BCBSNE’s focus will remain on championing the health and well-being of our members and the communities we serve.

Left: A commemorative ID card celebrating BCBSNE’s 50th anniversary. Upper right: A booklet recognizing BCBSNE’s 15th anniversary. Lower right: A sticker commemorating BCBSNE’s 25th anniversary.

Thank you to our members for allowing us to be part of your health journeys. Thank you to the hospitals, doctors and other health care professionals who take such good care of their patients. Thank you to the brokers who help their customers make their best coverage choices. Thank you to the members of Team Blue for your dedication to our members. And thank you to everyone who makes Nebraska a great place to call home.

Cheers to the road that lies ahead. Thank you for allowing us to serve you, Nebraska.