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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, local United Way organizations partner to improve financial well-being for Kansas families


Topeka, Kansas (Mar. 7, 2023) – For millions of working families, every day is a test. But on this test the choices are all impossible, and one wrong answer can have devastating results: pay the rent or pick up that prescription, buy auto insurance or keep the lights on, fill the fridge or the car’s gas tank. That’s why Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) is partnering with local United Way organizations to fund United for ALICE here in Kansas.

United for ALICE is a grassroots movement to improve the lives of our families, neighbors, and colleagues who work hard, earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford a basic household budget. These individuals are referred to as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE supporters research, advocate and collaborate on solutions that promote financial stability at local, state and national levels.

“When individuals struggle financially – their communities also struggle. The social determinants of health, like someone’s zip code and the amount of money they make, have a significant impact on a person’s and community’s health and well-being,” said Virginia Barnes, director, BCBSKS, Blue Health Initiatives. “Across one’s lifespan, increased financial instability also increases risk for mental illness, chronic disease, higher mortality, and lower life expectancy. We believe United for ALICE will spur action to better support the whole health of Kansans.”

Nearly 1 in 3 American households are unable to stretch their income to meet their household needs and United for Alice hopes to change that. The first step will be producing a report that measures financial hardship and seeks to understand why these households are struggling. The next step will be to gather a network of stakeholders to participate in learning sessions where we can share new ideas, policy innovations and best practices with each other. The final step is ongoing as the ultimate goal of the project is to stimulate action that will improve the financial stability of ALICE families and their communities.

“We know that to do this work well for our ALICE families across Kansas we need strong partnerships,” said Lisa Gleason, chair, United Ways of Kansas Association. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has stepped up to help us make this a reality for our state. Their vision for improving the lives of all Kansans is critical to this work and we are so grateful for their support.”

The Kansas United for ALICE report should be ready in June 2023. For more information about United for ALICE, visit unitedforalice.org.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas:

For more than 80 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.

About United for ALICE

United For ALICE is a driver of innovation, research, and action to improve life across the country for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and for all. Through the development of the ALICE measurements, a comprehensive, unbiased picture of financial hardship has emerged.

Harnessing this data and research on the mismatch between low-paying jobs and the cost of survival, ALICE partners convene, advocate, and collaborate on solutions that promote financial stability at local, state, and national levels. This grassroots ALICE movement, led by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has spread to half of U.S. states and includes United Ways, corporations, nonprofits and foundations in Arkansas, Connecticut,  Delaware, District of Columbia,  Florida,  Hawai‘i, Idaho,  Illinois,  Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi,  New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia , and Wisconsin.