Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan salutes supplier diversity achievements during fifth annual awards program

February 8, 2010

DETROIT - The spotlight will turn to minority- and women-owned businesses when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan hosts its fifth annual Supplier Diversity Achievement Awards program on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Some 250 guests are expected to attend the event, which runs from 8-11 a.m. at the Blues downtown Detroit offices. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its subsidiaries, Blue Care Network, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and LifeSecure, will distribute 11 awards across eight categories, including new supplier of the year and diverse supplier achievement awards for both woman and minority business enterprises.

"Through our diverse supplier partnering programs and other ongoing corporate initiatives, the Blues have embraced the power of inclusion, and we're seeing enormous payback," said Blues President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel J. Loepp. "By building strong partnerships with Michigan's growing diverse supplier community, we're able to focus on delivering excellent quality, good services and fair prices to all our stakeholders."

"The opportunity to build partnerships with diverse suppliers is a win-win situation," said James Line, Blues director of corporate procurement. "By implementing a strategic diversity program, we build more competition for our spending dollars and gain opportunities to expand our business into new markets."

In 2009, Blue Cross spent $60.6 million with minority business enterprises, exceeding its goal by 15 percent, and $48 million in support of women-owned firms. The company has consistently exceeded its goals for spending on women- and minority-owned businesses in recent years.

When the Blues established a corporate initiative to cultivate a diverse supplier base more than 15 years ago, it was seen as a competitive advantage. Given today's economic uncertainty, the company also views the initiative as the right thing to do for Michigan's communities.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has won the Corporation of the Year Award in health care from the Michigan Minority Business Development Council for three years running. The award is given annually to the corporation that actively includes certified minority suppliers in its procurement opportunities, assists in the development of minority suppliers, and promotes supplier diversity and business development.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including: Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield; Blue Preferred®, Community Blue℠ and Healthy Blue Incentives℠ PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living℠; Flexible Blue℠ plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans, and MyBlue℠ products in the under-age-65 individual market. The Blues also offer dental, vision and hearing plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.