Posts Tagged insurer

Green Health Insurance Part 1

Posted by on Monday, 22 March, 2010

The health care bill passed the House today, so health plans are the topics on everyone’s mind. Without a strong public option, clients are seeking out the health insurance provider that is right for them. As with other businesses, health insurers have varying levels of sustainability. I looked up the health insurers Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and CIGNA to see what policies they offer.

Aetna, a major health insurance company, implemented several policies that benefit the environment. Aetna is installing more than a thousand solar panels and implementing energy conserving construction techniques in its new facilities. Their site mentions NRDC LEED certification. This certification shows that a company is building sustainable buildings and includes several requirements covering various architectural improvements. According to the NRDC, areas covered include site sustainability, water conservation, green construction materials, clean energy, and clean air.

Blue Cross Blue Shield also established environmentally friendly policies. One of the main features that this program includes is the electronic delivery of forms known as explanation of benefits, or EOBs. Blue Cross Blue Shield claims that it currently mails out more than three million paper EOB forms each year. Switching to an electronic delivery system cuts out all of the waste associated with paper manufacturing, oil used to deliver the letters, and paper added to the landfills. This electronic switch also provides cost benefits to the insurer and increases communication speed between the insurer and policy holders. Many health insurance providers offer some forms online, although the accessibility of the information varies. Hospitals are also in the process of switching to electronic storage for the same reasons.

CIGNA, another large health insurance provider, is also active in environmental initiatives. According to CIGNA, the company coordinates with its vendors to ensure that recyclable packaging is used, and the company has set up communications systems so that its employees can suggest green initiatives. Hotlines and tip boxes are a common way for employees to send suggestions to management. CIGNA has also constructed buildings out of recycled material, as well as using recycled paper in its directories, and has set up paper recycling bins in its office buildings. These three companies use many of the same environmentally friendly processes. Recycling is emphasized in this CIGNA report.