COVID-19 has magnified the importance of caregivers, making it vital to check in on caregivers’ health, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield advises. Family caregivers have a 26% greater chance of having a physical or behavioral health condition that could lower their overall health due to the stress of caring for an ill family member, according to a new report, “The Impact of Caregiving on Mental and Physical Health,” from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. In Iowa, 20% of Wellmark members rely on caregiver support, compared with 22% nationally. “Caregivers have always played a crucial role in providing essential care for family members and loved ones,” said Laura Jackson, Wellmark’s chief health officer. “COVID-19 has magnified the importance of caregivers and placed an increased focus on the importance of taking time to check in on those caregivers and lend additional support — emotional and physical — whenever possible.” The report included commercially insured BCBS members who have a spouse or child in need of caregiver support. Wellmark says the study represents the first time that claims data has been used to link the relationship between health status and caregiving.