Access to 99 percent of N.D. doctors, hospitals

We have been serving North Dakotans for 75 years. As North Dakota’s oldest and largest health insurance company, we provide our members with unmatched access to doctors and health care facilities in the state.

Our members have access to:

  • 99.6 percent of North Dakota doctors, allowing you to find a doctor in your area
  • 99 percent of North Dakota hospitals, including all the big city hospitals, and rural facilities
  • 90 percent of doctors and specialists across the country through in-network agreements with other Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies in all 50 states
  • 200 countries worldwide have doctors, clinics and hospitals that accept Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) insurance coverage

4-23-15 BCBSND coverage TWITER CROP

A BCBSND membership card is the gold standard for health insurance coverage in North Dakota and beyond, ensuring you will be able to find a doctor and clinic nearby whether you live in a big city, small town or on a farm.

BCBSND offers its members access to more doctors and health care facilities than any other insurance company in the state. Networks vary depending upon the details of your specific insurance plan. Some networks require members to select a group of health care facilities to seek care. Visit to find which doctors in your area are part of your network. Here are some more tips to help you pick a doctor.

As a BCBSND member you also have access to our comprehensive national network of doctors, clinics and hospitals through our partnership with other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the country. Our national network gives you access to receive needed medical care from more than 90 percent of doctors and specialists in the nation in every state, and in 200 countries worldwide. If you get sick or need emergency care while on vacation or while traveling, we’ve got you covered.

If you need help, we’re just a phone call or a short drive away. You can call the phone number on the back of your ID card to talk with a customer service representative or visit one of our local offices across the state. As a North Dakota-based company, we have 10 offices across the state, providing local service and jobs in local communities.

Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Celebrating 75 years serving North Dakotans

In early 1940, the country was still recovering from the effects of the Great Depression. North Dakota had recently experienced drought, bank failures, an eroding economy and an exodus of residents leaving the state during the preceding two decades.

It was against this backdrop that the North Dakota Hospital Association began operating on March 22, 1940 with a staff of three in the First National Bank Building in Fargo, introducing prepaid hospital care to the state. North Dakota’s first health insurance company was started with help from St. Luke’s and St. John’s hospitals in Fargo and local civic groups to help fill a need for affordable medical coverage.

First National Bank Building, Fargo

The company, which would become Blue Cross of North Dakota in 1964 and merge with Blue Shield of North Dakota in 1986, came along at a time when many North Dakotans were struggling to afford medical care. Since its humble beginnings, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) has collaborated with others to help provide the best possible health coverage value, while always striving to serve its members.

Much has changed during the last 75 years, but BCBSND is still led by the same spirit of public service and collaboration. Over the years, generations of North Dakotans have come to rely on the high quality coverage and outstanding customer service we provide our members and neighbors. That’s why Midwest Motor Express, and many other companies, have provided BCBSND insurance to their employees for decades. It’s also why North Dakota families like the Strommens trust us to provide their health insurance coverage.

Our company’s enrollment has grown from 9,000 our first year to more than 450,000 today. BCBSND insures roughly half of the state’s population. An overwhelming 99.6 percent of North Dakota doctors and 99 percent of hospitals in the state accept our coverage, ensuring members have access to most doctors and virtually all health care facilities across the state. Our nationwide network also allows you to visit more than 90 percent of doctors and specialists, wherever Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance is accepted in all 50 states, and in 200 countries worldwide.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota’s current Fargo headquarters building

We are proud of our North Dakota heritage and to be North Dakotans serving North Dakotans. We are based in North Dakota and our 10 offices throughout the state help us provide the world-class service our members have come to expect from us. Our 1,000 employees are your friends and neighbors. As a nonprofit member-owned company, our passion is serving our members. Without our members we wouldn’t be here.

We’ve been fortunate enough to serve North Dakotans for 75 years. With the support of our members and local communities, we plan to be around in another 75 years.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
Headquarters: Fargo
Employees: 1,000
Ownership: Nonprofit

Membership growth through the years
1950: 75,000
1960: 212,000
1970: 302,000
1980: 385,000
1990: 370,000
2000: 415,000
2010: 456,000
2015: 456,000

Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Fargo Marathon 5K recap

woman runner CROPPED

It was a chilly 45 degrees at race time for the May 8 Fargo Marathon Tailgate Friday Night 5K.

But more than 6,000 walkers and runners braved the cold temperatures and once again made the Fargo Marathon’s 5K a fun and successful event.

Here’s a YouTube video recap of the event.

We enjoyed sponsoring the 5K with Discovery Benefits again. It was great to see everyone out walking and running together.

Many of our employees competed in the 5K or volunteered at the event.

We love sponsoring this event and experiencing the camaraderie, sportsmanship and the great example of people taking part in promoting health and wellness in the community.

There were some serious runners at the 5K (the fastest runners were coming down the home stretch to the finish line as the last walkers left the starting line). The great crowds and scenes of families running together and moms pushing baby strollers remind us all that it’s not just how good of shape you are in, but that you’re getting out and being active and taking steps to improve your health.

Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Playing kickball and tug of war at work

A team of our employees competed in the Corporate Cup sponsored by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce last week.

We didn’t win, but we still had a blast. We finished a respectable 12th out of 37 teams of Fargo area companies in the recreational division.

There’s something about adults playing kickball, tug of war and ultimate Frisbee that helps to reconnect with childhood memories and experiences of playing on competitive sports teams.

Employees playing tug of war
What could be more fun than adults playing tug of war?

Other fun Corporate Cup events included hot spot basketball, a stationary bike race and volleyball.

The Corporate Cup only happens once a year, but we encourage you to tap into your inner child and look for opportunities to get active and have fun at work. Examples include starting up a company rec league softball team, taking short walks inside or outside the building at lunch with coworkers, or carrying a pedometer and challenging your coworkers to see who can get more steps in each day.

Have a task at work that no one wants to do? We suggest a game of rock, paper, scissors.

Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Is your Medicare coverage changing July 1?

Attend a nearby informational workshop to explore your options for Medicare coverage.

Register for a workshop now.

Get information from a health insurance company you’ve trusted for years. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is hosting informational workshops for those interested in Medicare coverage beginning on May 27.

Medicare Workshops map

More than 30 workshops are scheduled across the state in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot and Williston. For more information about the workshops, visit or call us at 1-800-280-BLUE (2853).

Andrea Dinneen is public relations manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Take good care of your mental health

One in five American adults experienced some type of mental health condition in 2013.

Take care of your mental healthMental health involves emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act, including how we handle stress and make choices. People who are mentally healthy are also better able to cope with other health challenges.

It’s common for people to feel down once in a while and worry about family, work and other matters. But you may have a mental health condition if you have had these symptoms for more than a few days:

  • Too little or too much eating or sleeping
  • Withdrawing from people and usual activities
  • Low or no energy
  • Persistent bad thoughts, memories
  • Intensified fears
  • Unexplained aches
  • Increased use of tobacco or alcohol
  • Mood swings that cause relationship problems

If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, there is help. Consider seeing your health care provider. He or she will first identify your specific factors and conditions, and then create a treatment plan.

Treatment choices may include:

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Check with your employer to see if EAP is offered.
  • Therapy with trained mental health professionals
  • Support-group participation that is completely confidential
  • Peer support from those who have suffered from similar conditions
  • Medications to help manage symptoms. If your doctor thinks prescriptions will help, there are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved options that improve certain chemical brain messengers

Most people recover with a combination of therapy and medication, and achieve stronger overall health. This dual approach also gives people proven coping tools to continue thriving.

Remember, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions are real diseases. Please do not hesitate to seek help.

Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.


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Giving running shoes to kids

5-1-15 Shoes for Kids TWITTER CROP

Kids have boundless energy and always seem to be running, but some children don’t have access to adequate running shoes.

A portion of each registration for the May 8 Fargo Marathon Friday Night Tailgate 5K will once again be donated to the Shoes for Kids program that provides new running shoes to Fargo area children. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, a co-sponsor of the Fargo Marathon 5K, and other organizations provide matching funds to the program.

Last fall the Shoes for Kids program donated 1,000 new running shoes to Fargo area elementary schools. The schools give the shoes to deserving students, often children in financial need who lack appropriate running shoes.

Each year a portion from each registration for the Fargo Marathon 5K is donated to the Shoes for Kids program. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Discovery Benefits and the Dakota Medical Foundation provide matching funds. Additional corporate and individual donations are also accepted for the program.

We are proud to continue our partnership with the Shoes for Kids program. We support efforts to help children be more physically active and to break down barriers to fitness and better health.

Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota blog.

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A look at the pros and cons of running technology

4-27-15 Mike Carlson blog TWITTER CROP

Today’s fitness technology provides new insights into our personal performance metrics.

The question is, ‘Does it help or hurt you?’

Of course the answer to that question is highly personal; however, I will give you my take on this. During one run this winter before I went out the door, I made sure the following were all on and ready:

  • my stopwatch
  • a device to help monitor my current pace and distance
  • a device to monitor my heart rate
  • a Bluetooth pedometer that tracks my steps, syncs with a portal and gives me incentives for those steps
  • my smartphone to listen to music.

This technology allows me to better understand my performance, both during and post workout and it does provide me with the thresholds that I need to reach to improve my overall performance.

Here are some examples of wearable technology products that are gaining traction with runners.

Here are some 5K training tips.

With all the technology that is available now it’s easy to forget why I run in the first place — to get lost in thought and at the same time challenge myself both mentally and physically. I have since learned that although this technology is here and fascinating, if I learn to do more with less, I have a better experience and performance.

What are your thoughts on wearable technology? What products do you use and how do you use them?

Mike Carlson is director of consulting and wellness services at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND). Carlson is an avid runner and he has a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from North Dakota State University and a master’s in exercise science from St. Cloud (Minn.) State University.

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Summit West can help create a healthier workplace

Register today for the first annual North Dakota Worksite Wellness Summit West.

The average person spends one-third of his or her day at work. No doubt, creating a healthy workplace can help employees to be strong and help employers to combat rapidly rising health care costs.

Upon request, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) and the North Dakota Department of Health will co-sponsor the first ever North Dakota Worksite Wellness Summit West to be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, May 13, at the National Energy Center (NECE) on the Bismarck State College campus.

You don’t have to be a business owner or HR professional to attend Summit West. Anyone who is interested in worksite wellness is welcome to attend.

About the speakers 

L. Casey Chosewood, MD - Total Worker Health 2Casey Chosewood, MD MPH

Now more than ever, evidence shows the intimate relationship between work environment, employee health and company profitability. Smart organizations focus on creating workplaces that are safe, health-focused and positive. Dr. L. Casey Chosewood from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will share a proven workplace strategy to create that environment. During his presentation you’ll:

  • hear real-life examples of integrated worker protection and health promotion programs
  • explore best practices for engaging employees toward higher levels of health
  • learn the best policy and strategy approaches for creating environments where better worker health can thrive

Terry-EckmannTerry Ferebee Eckmann, PhD

Award-winning author, professor and television host Terry Ferebee Eckmann of Minot State University will help explain the connection between brain health and workplace productivity. She’ll introduce you to the six critical domains of brain health and reveal cutting-edge research on the effects of exercise on the brain throughout one’s entire life. You’ll even get to participate in some easy-to-use brain boosters that affect the physiology of the brain. You’ll also get some ideas for incorporating brain exercise at home or in the workplace.

Summit_Justin2Justin Welk

You will also learn the art of turning focus into fun from Justin Welk, who is the talent coordinator at Sundog Interactive in Fargo. In recent years, culture has become a buzzword in organizations around the world. It’s difficult to define because it means something different to every organization.

During this presentation, Welk will discuss the components of culture and how they can have an effect on the overall well-being of both the organization and its team members. You’ll learn about several topics, including trust, employee engagement, emotional intelligence and work-life integration.

Space is limited, so we encourage you to register right away.

Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Get out and walk on Walk on National Walk@Lunch Day

PHOTO_BND_NWLD 2015_Web 1024x512

Whether you work in Wahpeton or Williston, employees throughout the state are encouraged to take a walk during lunch on Wednesday, April 29.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has designated the last Wednesday in April as National Walk@Lunch Day. This nationwide initiative encourages Americans to take time to walk during their lunch breaks to help improve their health.

Getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week can improve your health.

Walking can help you:

  • lower the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension or Type 2 diabetes
  • improve the health of muscles, bones and joints

Join us or plan your own walk

If you’re in the Fargo area, feel free to join Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) employees at our lobby at noon for a walk.

Go for a walk on National Walk @ Lunch Day.
If you work outside of Fargo, you can use Google maps or MapMyRun to plot out a route near your workplace.

We are partnering with the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System (NDPERS) and Healthy North Dakota to host a walk in Bismarck. If you are in the area, please join us at 11:30 a.m. on April 29 in Memorial Hall of the Capitol. Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley will welcome attendees and lead the walk.

Walking tips

  • Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes to work.
  • Check the weather beforehand to see if you’ll need a jacket or umbrella.
  • So you have time to walk on break, you might want to pack your lunch that day and use ice packs to keep your lunch cold if a refrigerator is not available.
  • If the weather is warm, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking extra fluids. Water is your best choice.
  • Keep safety in mind. Watch for unlevel ground or cracks in the sidewalk.
  • Have fun!

Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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