What is the role of health plans in driving sustainable solutions that lead to better health for all? 


This is the question we found ourselves asking in relation to the communities we work with at The BUILD Health Challenge (BUILD). Over the last few years in particular, we’ve noticed an increase in the level of interest and participation by health plans – also commonly referred to as payers or insurers – in BUILD’s community-centered health initiatives.

This observation sparked a desire to better understand the evolving practices of health plans as they relate to community health. In collaboration with our evaluation team at Equal Measure, we share those learnings in a new report, Forging a New Path: BUILD’s Health Plan Partners.

This report is the result of a literature review and focus groups with 16 individuals from five BUILD communities, representing four healthcare partners, five CBO partners, and seven health plan partners. The conversations were structured to connect peers from different BUILD communities with a range of partnership organizations.

The inquiry is anchored by four questions:

  1. What is the value and potential of partnerships with payers in BUILD communities?
  2. What motivates health plans and BUILD partners to forge partnerships and deepen relationships?
  3. What factors accelerate or impede partnerships between health plans and BUILD partners?
  4. What considerations and actionable implications can we draw from insights from partnerships involving health plans?

Our conversations with the five BUILD communities working with health plans uncovered promising opportunities for alignment. We also share factors identified that both accelerated and impeded their collaboration, as well as implications to guide your thinking and inform your own approach toward collaborating with payers in your community or region.