Blue Shield of California Launches Virtual Blue Benefit Plan Including Primary, Mental Health and Specialty Care | California Blue Shield

OAKLAND, CA (January 30, 2023) – Blue Shield of California today unveiled its Virtual Blue health benefits plan, offering members easy-to-access, comprehensive care through a team of “virtual first” primary, behavioral and specialty health care professionals.

In addition to virtual care, members have access to Blue Shield of California’s Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network for personal care, plus national BlueCard and global GeoBlue coverage when care is needed outside of California. The plan, effective April 1, 2023, is now available for selection by Blue Shield’s employer customers as an employee benefit offering.

A dedicated care team, right at members’ fingertips

Key features of Virtual Blue include $0 out-of-pocket costs (no co-pays or deductibles) for the following virtual care services:

  • Primary care, including pediatrics, family medicine and internal medicine
  • Specialized care that includes 20 specialties
  • Integrated mental health care for members age 4 and older, including access to psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), and marriage and family therapists (MFTs)
  • 24/7 emergency assistance

The Advantage Plan offers simple online booking for virtual appointments. Co-payments and deductibles will apply when using an in-person provider or virtual provider outside of the Virtual Blue platform.

“This is what health care should be – integrated and affordable care that puts the member and their health at the center,” said Tim Lieb, senior vice president of Blue Shield of California. “Access to behavioral health services is especially important as our members deal with and overcome the impact of the pandemic on their own lives. As a purpose-driven, not-for-profit health plan, Blue Shield is committed to creating a health care system worthy of our family and friends that is sustainably affordable, and Virtual Blue is the latest example of that.”

An accessible, integrated care experience that emphasizes the doctor-patient relationship to support care for the whole person

In Accolade’s Advanced Primary Care model, physicians work with a team of certified health coaches, care coordinators and nurses who help members pursue health and wellness goals, manage chronic conditions and coordinate specialty and personal care.

Virtual Blue members can select an Accolade primary care physician based on criteria such as gender, race, years of experience and language. All virtual care, including mental health and specialty care, is available on one platform. Accolade’s virtual primary care physicians have achieved a 90% patient satisfaction score. They are 62% female and almost 40% black, indigenous or colored. All physicians are board-certified in primary care, and members can choose physicians with experience in providing support to LGBTQIA+ individuals.

“We believe that health care should be accessible to all and that primary care and mental health services are critical to providing people with health care,” said Rajiv Singh, CEO of Accolade. “We are excited to partner with Blue Shield of California on this first virtual plan designed to make care accessible in new and innovative ways. Together, we strive to provide better access, improved health outcomes and personalized experiences for members.”

Virtual Blue also offers 20 types of virtual specialists through California-based TeleMed2U.

Members who prefer in-person provider visits can still access Blue Shield’s Tandem PPO network of nearly 40,000 doctors in California. Although virtual care available through the Virtual Blue platform is not paid out-of-pocket to the member, copayments and deductibles will apply for in-person care and virtual care outside of the platform.

To learn more about Virtual Blue, go to Trade groups interested in offering Virtual Blue for employees can visit the product webpage:

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California strives to create a health care system worthy of family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a taxable, not-for-profit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with 4.7 million members, 7,800 employees and $22.9 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare plans in California. The company has contributed $120 million to the Blue Shield of California Foundation over the past three years to make an impact in California communities.

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About Accolade

Accolade (Nasdaq: ACCD) provides millions of people and their families with an exceptional health experience that is personalized, data-driven and values-based to help each person live their healthiest life. Accolade’s solutions combine virtual primary care, mental health support and expert medical services with smart technology and best-in-class care navigation. Accolade’s approach to personalized healthcare brings humanity back to healthcare by building relationships that connect people and their families to the right care at the right time to improve outcomes, reduce costs and deliver consumer satisfaction. Accolade consistently receives customer satisfaction ratings of over 90%. For more information, visit

About TeleMed2U

TeleMed2U is revolutionizing the way patients access specialty care, providing real-time access to over 275+ specialty care providers across 20 specialties. TeleMed2U’s clinical team of experts, with decades of experience, is passionate about combining technology and quality care to offer the best patient experience. With end-to-end patient care, TeleMed2U provides high continuity of care for repeat patients by providing access to a single, resilient patient care team. TeleMed2U has developed a transformative multi-specialty patient care platform that serves businesses, PCPs, payer networks, health systems and employer groups by making a range of specialties including behavioral health, endocrinology, infectious disease and more easily accessible to the patient. TeleMed2U is dedicated to providing quality and affordable care, visit to learn more.


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