Go paperless this Earth Day and other ways to help the planet
Regence shares how you can help improve the Earth’s health
Main image: Regence employees volunteering with Green Urban Lunch Box’s back farms program
Earth Day is April 22, a good time to pause and consider ways we can do more to protect this planet we all share. Here are a few examples of things we’re doing at Regence, and some suggestions of things you can do, to care for the Earth.
We’ve been inviting our members for more than a decade to choose to receive their explanation of benefits (EOB), communications and many other materials from us electronically instead of in the mail. About 31% of our members have opted to go “paperless” so far. The shift has allowed us to save close to 16 million sheets of paper annually, which translates to more than 1,000 trees each year.
Along with the environmental benefits, member benefits for going paperless include added protection from identify theft and less clutter and paperwork to deal with. Eliminating paper mailings also allows us to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in printing and shipping expenses annually, which helps keep health plan costs in check.
If you’d like to go paperless, sign in or create an account at regence.com and go to your account preferences to select the “Go Paperless” option. If you need help getting set up, call the number on your member ID card. (NOTE: Even if you go “paperless,” you’ll still receive occasional mailings from us, but much less than before.)
We expanded our coverage of virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic for safety reasons and have opted to continue this expanded coverage into the future. This includes a wide range of telehealth services, such as routine office visits, some urgent care consultations, mental health counseling, substance use disorder treatment and some preventive health screenings. Telehealth not only offers expanded access and convenience for our members, but also reduces carbon emissions by eliminating many trips to and from the doctor’s office. You can access virtual care services by signing in to your Regence account.
Offering flexible schedules for Regence employees to work from home and in the office means fewer cars on the road and less CO2 emissions annually. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by working remotely when possible, riding a bike, using public transportation, carpooling and combining trips.
Our facilities and real estate teams continuously look for opportunities to recycle and re-use. For example, in the past two years we’ve donated more than 2,200 furniture items to different communities, which diverted close to 100 tons of furniture and miscellaneous items from landfills. We’ve also recently completed LED lighting upgrades in several of our offices. Plus, we’ve introduced a centralized recycling program across our organization, including battery and lamp recycling.
Encouraging our employees to get involved
We’ve formed an employee interest group called Helping Our Planet’s Environment (HOPE) to give team members interested in sustainability an opportunity to promote initiatives that can help our company better care for the environment. They’ve hosted webinars for employees on sustainability topics like “How to make your home more efficient,” and “Tips for reducing food waste.” They’ve also supported various local nonprofit groups, such as Beyond Toxics, Columbia Riverkeeper, Friends of Trees, Slow Food – Friday Harbor, TreeUtah, United Vision for Idaho, and Green Urban Lunch Box’s back farms program. Employees have volunteered more than 700 hours with 30 different sustainability-focused organizations since 2018.
This month HOPE is inviting all employees to participate in the Earth Month EcoChallenge 2023, a global program that encourages people to take action to create a healthier world. The program invites participants to set goals and engage in environmentally friendly activities like planting trees, cleaning up litter, driving less, replacing grass with xeriscaping, and planting pollinator-friendly plants. You can get involved too by signing up at earthmonth.ecochallenge.org.