Blue Shield of California is a health insurance plan with more than 4 million members, serving California’s commercial, individual, and government markets. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession only heightened the importance of the company’s financial support to its members, and to the hospitals and other providers that deliver care.
The pandemic increased financial pressure on several fronts. For example, Blue Shield of California waived all fees for virtual care and COVID-19 screenings for its members. The nonprofit health plan also extended $200 million in direct support to providers and hospitals, and restructured contracts for physicians and hospitals as revenue dropped for non-COVID care and elective procedures. Blue Shield of California had been monitoring the outbreak since January 2020, well in advance of state action, to do scenario planning, keep members informed, and keep more than 6,800 employees safe.
In terms of operations, the nonprofit company had implemented cloud-based systems for finance and human resources to create an enterprise backbone better able to support its mission to reimagine healthcare and deliver more positive outcomes for patients, providers, and payers. The pandemic has added additional urgency to that effort, prompting Blue Shield to reallocate resources into innovation, get financial information into the hands of decision makers faster, and stay on top of new COVID-related rules and regulations.
Why Blue Shield of California chose Oracle
Blue Shield of California standardized on Oracle Fusion Cloud applications, including Oracle Cloud ERP and HCM running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. One of the company’s top selection criteria was a solution that could move the organization forward, from the scalability and security of its applications, to the continuous innovations delivered in quarterly updates across a unified suite. Since selecting Oracle several years ago, Blue Shield of California has moved into new areas such as subsidiaries to support providers, and Oracle’s unified platform has helped enable that through the creation of a center of excellence to ensure that its ERP and HCM applications operate in a consistent manner.
Standardizing on Oracle Cloud better prepared Blue Shield of California to support a workforce that was suddenly working remotely, such as the finance team closing the books while working from home. The Oracle Cloud suite of applications also provides a single source of truth for operating data, which has helped Blue Shield of California’s finance team become a vital partner in the company’s response to COVID-19, and a strategic business partner evaluating and funding new innovations, acquisitions, and other growth initiatives
Using Oracle Cloud ERP, Blue Shield of California shaved 40% off its monthly financial close time and reduced financial consolidation cycles by two business days, thanks to increased automation. Within two weeks of its staff moving to at-home working, the company did a virtual close of their book—a success that would have been hard to accomplish if they were not already in the cloud. And having accurate data sooner helps decision makers, especially in times of major change.
In addition to a faster close, Blue Shield of California saved about $500,000 in costs through automation and created a platform for future productivity and innovation gains using machine learning and artificial intelligence.
With Oracle Cloud ERP and HCM on a single data model, Blue Shield of California has “one source of truth” for scenario planning as it prepares for what’s ahead.