Early April marked the one-year anniversary of Matt All being named the president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. He recently took time to reflect on his first year leading the company to share what he’s learned and what he’s looking forward to.
What’s something that’s surprised you after being in this position for a year?
How much fun it’s been. I was excited to take on this new role, but I wasn’t sure what it would be like from day to day. It’s been amazing. Everyone has been tremendously kind and accepting of me and the way I do things. I haven’t had a single day that I wasn’t excited to come to work.
Is there something that you’ve learned that would surprise our members to know about our company or the health insurance industry?
I think people would be surprised how committed we are to getting this right — to making health care work for Kansans. I think many people think the insurance industry is full of unfeeling bureaucrats, just pushing paper around. I can’t speak for what it’s like at other companies, but it’s just not true at BCBSKS. Everyone I talk to here is committed to giving our customers a great experience, to helping them get access to high-quality care and to making it as affordable as it can be. I wish more people could spend some time here. I think it would change the way people think about health insurance.
In your role, and as a lifelong Kansan, you’ve gotten to visit many of our neighbors throughout the state. What are some of your favorite places to visit in the Sunflower State?
I grew up in southcentral Kansas, and I’ve lived in northeastern Kansas most of my adult life, so I tend to enjoy visiting other parts of the state. I love Garden City, with its diverse population and vibrant culture. I love Stockton, a small town in northwestern Kansas, where my mom grew up. And I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Pittsburg — especially the food. But I also like just driving through the Flint Hills. Its beauty never ceases to amaze me.
What’s been your favorite part about your role this past year?
Two things. First, I love helping to shape the culture of a place. I think we all want to be part of a group of people who stand for the right things, who support each other in good times and bad, who set high expectations for themselves and who are willing to have great, candid, truthful conversations about what they want to achieve together. I’ve spent a lot of time this first year trying to nudge us in that direction and I’ve been thrilled at how everyone has reacted. I couldn’t ask for a more positive response.
Second, I’ve enjoyed getting to know more people at BCBSKS, from new employees to our most seasoned veterans. We have fantastic people here and it’s a joy to have the opportunity to work with them. I think BCBSKS represents the very best of Kansas.
What are you looking forward to in this next year?
We spent most of 2018 developing the outlines of our new strategic vision. That’s important, but it’s just the beginning. Now we need to get focused and specific. We need to decide what big things we’re going to do to take the first steps toward giving Kansans a health care system that works. I think it’s going to be exhilarating work and I’m ready to see where it takes us.