PROVIDENCE, RI (AUGUST 27, 2021) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the largest health insurer in the state and one of the state’s largest employers, announced it will make COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for its workforce.
“We are in challenging times that I believe require all of us to take strong actions to protect public health,” said BCBSRI President and CEO Martha Wofford. “As the largest health insurer and one of the largest employers in the state, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations can help safeguard the health and well-being of our employees and our community.”
The new requirement aligns with BCBSRI’s ongoing efforts to support Rhode Islanders and help end the pandemic.
Wofford added, “We will continue to do everything we can to facilitate vaccination and provide support to the people of Rhode Island, especially to our most vulnerable communities.”
BCBSRI has set a November 1, 2021, deadline for all employees, including those who work remotely today or in the future, to submit proof of vaccination for COVID-19, or apply for a medical or religious exemption. BCBSRI is requiring the same for all vendor partners who work at the company’s headquarters, 500 Exchange Street in Providence, and at its four retail stores.
“It’s critical to be clear in explaining to our employees why we’ve made this decision,” said Hillary McCurley, the company’s chief human resources officer. “As we continue to develop a new, more flexible, hybrid workplace, we want people to have the opportunity to safely collaborate in person, whether they are meeting at 500 Exchange or in another setting. A fully vaccinated workforce will make that possible.”
“While this decision can be difficult as an employer, we believe putting a vaccine mandate in place is critical to ending this pandemic,” Wofford said. “We encourage other community and business leaders to consider taking similar action so that together, we can focus on revitalizing our state’s economy and restoring the health and well-being of our citizens.”
BCBSRI will continue to work with the Rhode Island Department of Health and other community partners to provide support, identify and eliminate barriers and create solutions to coronavirus care for our members and the communities we serve.
For COVID-19-related resources, please visit https://www.bcbsri.com/keepinformed/