Let me begin by thanking you for another impactful year in 2018. We know you have many choices for health insurance and appreciate the trust you place in us.
Over the past several years, BCBSND has been working on your behalf to improve the health care experience throughout the state. With an eye on serving you well into the future, last year we turned the focus inward with a transformation that touches every area of our business. It's a multidimensional effort with a singular purpose—to ensure North Dakotans have what they need to achieve and maintain good health.
The annual report features some internal business transformation highlights as well as ongoing efforts to advance health care throughout the state. It also gives a nod to some of the 1,000+ team members who pour their professional careers into the mission of serving you. And of course, you'll find important business metrics as well.
The most noticeable change has been a business wide IT systems upgrade. Previously we developed our service and claims systems in-house. Moving forward, we're tapping into technology platforms used successfully by other health plans. This effort will provide the efficiencies you would expect from a large national health plan while fitting our budget as a locally owned North Dakota company.
Some changes you'll notice include new and improved online portals to enhance your ability to connect with us and manage your health benefits. Other changes won't be as visible but will be appreciated, like the new highly efficient claims processing system.
Our mission revolves around connecting you to the best care and wellness tools—at the most affordable price. We can do that best by remaining a local company, as we are today, owned by those enrolled in our health plans.
In order to retain that independence, in 2018 we underwent a significant change to our corporate structure. We are now aligned under a new holding company, HealthyDakota Mutual Holdings. The new structure is important because it:
There's more restructuring to report, too. At the end of 2019, I'll personally have a new reporting structure. After 33 years of service at BCBSND, I'll begin reporting to my wife, Joanne, in the next chapter of our lives: retirement.
Planning for the change started more than a year ago when I began working with the board on a succession plan. After a comprehensive review, I'm happy to say they've chosen a successor from within the company. BCBSND's chief legal officer, Dan Conrad, will formally step into the chief executive officer role in January 2020. Until then, Dan and I will be working closely together to position the organization to successfully move forward.
Since I walked through the doors in 1986, I've held many roles in the organization. I've seen the company navigate incredible industry changes, government mandates and technology advancements. But the one constant—the thing that has kept me here over three decades—is our commitment to members.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota