Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Reaches Out To Hispanics

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Numerous culturally-relevant initiatives spearhead the efforts of the health insurance provider in Florida as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida champions health care education and health insurance access for Florida's Hispanic community.

In an unprecedented effort to address the health care needs of Florida's large Hispanic community, BCBSF has developed numerous tools, services, and programs now available in Spanish, including a new state-of-the-art Spanish-language Web site. BCBSF's goal is to provide the resources necessary to offer an understanding of the U.S. health care system and the value of insurance in a culture-specific manner. In addition, the development of a culturally-competent health care system through internal and external initiatives is paramount to the company.

"We want to become a trusted partner of the Hispanic community, offering guidance, education and the appropriate health care products to serve their specific needs," said John Kaegi, group vice president of enterprise marketing. "As Florida's growing population continues to change, we are also committed to expanding cultural competencies system-wide to understand and address the varied perspectives and health needs of all communities."

By 2012, it is expected that Hispanics will represent nearly a quarter of Florida's population. More than 30 percent of today's Hispanic Floridians lack the health insurance that would give them access to the private health care delivery system. Besides affordability, one of the reasons often cited by Hispanics for not having health insurance is a poor understanding of how it works.

Launched Monday, Dec. 8, the new Web site http://www.FloridaSaludable.com will offer many unique educational and health care access features. The site, whose name translates to "Healthy Florida," is a culturally relevant Web site, designed especially for the needs and preferences of the Hispanic Community. Spanish-speaking consumers will have the ability to view health and wellness information, U.S. health care system educational content, and community-related information. Users can also search for Spanish-speaking agents via the 'Find an Agent' link and Spanish-speaking physicians via the Spanish version of BCBSF's Online Provider Directory.

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Additional resources that BCBSF provides include:

-- Community service outreach programs such as Vida Sana ( http://www.vidasanaflorida.com ).

-- Tools available in Spanish including MyBlueService, a member plan access tool.

-- A multilingual contact center to provide translation or interpretation services during enrollment.

-- 'The Power of the Human Voice' ( http://www.thepowerofthehumanvoice.com ) campaign, an initiative to engage Floridians in a dialogue about the state of health care, via the Spanish-version Web site.

-- Numerous philanthropic programs and community relationship-building efforts.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is a leader in Florida's health industry. BCBSF and its subsidiaries serve more than 8.8 million people. Since 1944, the company has been dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of all those it serves by offering an array of choices. BCBSF is a not-for-profit, policyholder-owned, tax-paying mutual company.

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