6 payer partnerships with colleges and universities

Payers are investing in educational programs to bolster their own workforces and train new healthcare professionals. 

Here are seven insurance education programs to know: 

  1. The UnitedHealth Group foundation is investing $3.2 million in East Carolina University's telepsychiatry program. The program connects pediatric and primary-care clinics with telepsychiatry providers to support behavioral healthcare. 

  2. Aetna is backing a new clinical mental health counseling master's program at Buckhannon-based West Virginia Wesleyan College, The Inter-Mountain reported Feb. 11. The program will provide graduates positions at Rock Cave-based Community Care of West Virginia.

  3. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is sponsoring an insurance pre-licensing academy as part of the payer's efforts to create a more diverse workforce in the insurance industry. The payer put $243,000 behind a program at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, N.C., to fund at least 90 students in the program.

  4. Aetna and Anthem Blue Cross reportedly have their eyes on a new actuarial science degree program at the University of California Riverside. The school's newspaper reported that the two companies have inquired about the new program and are potentially interested in future partnerships.

  5. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska partnered with the state and Bellevue University on a workforce training program for IT employees called Ignite Nebraska.The first class of graduates received six to 12 months of free job training at Bellevue and at BCBS' Omaha campus. BCBS said it will extend an offer of employment to graduates or provide assistance with finding a position locally.

  6. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's new college degree and training program aimed at fostering IT talent for the payer, the BlueSky Institute, achieved a 100 percent retention rate in its first year. BlueSky maintained its entire inaugural class of 32 students, and applications for the next class have doubled since last year.

  7. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan rolled out a new partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, where the organizations partner to train health insurance agents. The new program, which welcomed its first students during the fall 2021 semester, is entirely paid for by grants, so enrolled students receive training for free. 

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