Kim Keck became the first woman President & Chief Executive Officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in January of 2021. In her role leading BCBSA, Keck has championed maternal health, health equity, community health and coordinating on a national level to advance affordability and overall wellness.
Prior to BCBSA, Keck served as President & CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island after working at Aetna for nearly three decades in a variety of leadership roles. Among those was interim president of the southeast region — a role in which she had oversight of five million members and $20 billion in revenue.
Leading up to the 2022 Health Evolution Summit, where Keck will be a Main Stage discussion leader, we interviewed her about leveraging data to lay the foundation for a more equitable and affordable U.S. health care system, becoming a part of the Health Evolution Equity Pledge, her top priorities for the future and more. Keck is also a Health Evolution Forum Fellow in the Roundtable on Community Health and Advancing Health Equity.
How has transitioning from President & CEO of BCBS Rhode Island to President & CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association changed you as a leader?
From a leadership competency and style perspective, moving from leading a Blue Plan to leading the national Association has led me to focus more on broad influence rather than direct ownership. When I was leading an individual company, I had much more ownership and direct impact, while at the Association, my role is oriented around influencing outcomes, driving the collective mission and vision of our 35 BCBS companies, and shaping policy and health leadership at a national level. This takes a different kind of leadership as we continue to pave the way for a more equitable, affordable healthcare system for the one in three Americans we serve — and all Americans.
With one in three Americans covered by a Blue system in some capacity, how do you now think about being able to impact even more people’s lives?
What’s so special about the Blue System is that we have network providers in every ZIP code in America, which gives us incredible insight into specific health care needs across the country. During my first year at BCBSA, I’ve intentionally sought out local Blue Plan expertise and created coordination on the national level to advance well-being, health equity and affordability. Because our Plans share deep, local connections to their communities, I’ve learned firsthand how we’re uniquely positioned to partner with organizations and leaders making a difference in their neighborhoods, to be a policy leader, and to use our knowledge and insights to elevate health issues impacting the country.