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Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Industry Health insurance
Founded 1929
Headquarters Michigan Plaza
Chicago, Illinois
Key people
Scott Serota , President and CEO[1]
Products PPOs, HMOs
Number of employees
Website [2]

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is a federation of 36 separate United States

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of California official website
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Texas
  • Voices of Oklahoma interview with Blue Cross Blue Shield. First person interview conducted on February 26, 2013 with Ron King and Ralph Rhodes. Original audio and transcript archived with Voices of Oklahoma oral history project.

External links


Further reading

  1. ^ BCBSA (n.d.). "Scott P. Serota. President and Chief Executive Office". BCBS. 
  2. ^ "Blue Cross Blue Shield Association - Supporting the 36 Independent, Locally Operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies -". 
  3. ^ "Blue Cross Blue Shield Association - Supporting the 36 Independent, Locally Operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies -". 
  4. ^ a b Coordinated Issue Paper – Blue Cross Blue Shield/Health Insurance; Life Insurance: Conversion of nonprofit corporations. 4 June 2008)
  5. ^ a b Justin Ford Kimball from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Marc Lichtenstein (n.d.). "Health Insurance From Invention to Innovation: A History of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies". Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 
  7. ^ "History of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association – 1980s". Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 
  8. ^ "Nonprofit Health Inc.: Overview of issues in the protection of nonprofit assets - Blue Cross: 501(m)".  
  9. ^ 26 USC § 833 – Treatment of Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations, etc. | Title 26 – Internal Revenue Code | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  10. ^ "Blue Cross parent boosts profit in second quarter". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communication, Inc. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Robert Pear (14 December 2014). New York Times "In Final Spending Bill, Salty Food and Belching Cows Are Winners" . NY times. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Health Insurance Facts | Smarter Consumers of Healthcare. Health Harbor. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  13. ^ "Insurance Programs". United States  
  14. ^ "Contact Us." Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Retrieved on December 23, 2009.
  15. ^ a b c d "Contact Us". Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "Anthem Health Insurance, Medicare, and Group Health Plans". Very bottom of page. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Florida Blue – New Name of BlueCross and BlueShield of Florida" (Press release). PRNewswire. April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ The Regence Group
  19. ^ Ostrom, Carol M. (February 8, 2012). "3 Big Health Insurers Stockpile $2.4 Billion As Rates Keep Rising". The Seattle Times. 


See also

The Seattle Times published an article on February 9, 2012, alleging non-profit insurance outfits, including Premera Blue Cross, Regence BlueShield and Group Health Cooperative, are stockpiling billions of dollars in reserves while increasing their rates at the same time.[19] Insurance companies do have statutory reserve requirements set by the states in which they operate, but the Seattle Times article cites Washington state insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler arguing that these companies have in excess of $1 billion more than needed to cover claims and disaster contingencies.

Criticism and controversy

Though historically "Blue Cross" was used for hospital coverage while "Blue Shield" was used for medical coverage, today that split only exists for traditional health insurance plans in eastern Pennsylvania, where Independence Blue Cross (Philadelphia) and Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania each have joint marketing agreements with Highmark Blue Shield (Pittsburgh) for their separate hospital and medical plans. However, Independence Blue Cross, like most of its sister Blue Cross-Blue Shield companies, cover most of their customers under managed care plans such as HMOs and PPOs which provide hospital and medical care in one policy.


BlueCross of Idaho and Regence[18] BlueShield of Idaho are separate companies and compete head to head throughout the state.


Details on specific organizations

Member companies

The association has its headquarters in the Michigan Plaza complex in the Chicago Loop area of Chicago, Illinois.[14]

The 14-state Mid-Atlantic, The Regence Group in the Pacific Northwest, and Highmark which serves Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. The largest non-investor owned member is Health Care Service Corporation, which operates five Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in the Midwest and Southwest (Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, and New Mexico). License includes Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Uruguay.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance companies are licensees, independent of the association and traditionally of each other, offering insurance plans within defined regions under one or both of the association's brands. Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers offer some form of health insurance coverage in every U.S. state. They also act as administrators of Medicare in many states or regions of the US[12] and provide coverage to state government employees as well as to the federal government employees under a nationwide option of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan.[13]

Current organization

In 1994, BCBS changed to allow its licensees to be for-profit corporations.[4] During 2010, Health Care Service Corporation, the parent company of BCBS in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Montana and Illinois, nearly doubled its income to $1.09 billion in 2010, and began four years of billion-dollar profits.[10] In the final spending bill for FY 2015 after much lobbying since 2010, nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans continue to have special tax breaks that were understood to be threatened by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.[11]

Prior to 1986, organizations administering BCBS were tax exempt under [8] under IRC 833.[9]

In 1982, Blue Shield merged with The Blue Cross Association to form the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBS).[7]

In the 1960s the US government chose to partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to administer Medicare.[6]

Blue Shield was developed by employers in lumber and mining camps of the Pacific Northwest to provide medical care by paying monthly fees to medical service bureaus composed of groups of physicians.[6] In 1939, the first official Blue Shield Plan was founded in California. In 1948, the symbol was informally adopted by nine plans called the Associated Medical Care Plan, and was later renamed the National Association of Blue Shield Plans.

Blue Cross is a name used by an association of health insurance plans throughout the United States. Its predecessor was developed by Justin Ford Kimball in 1929, while he was vice president of Baylor University's health care facilities in Dallas, Texas.[5] The first plan guaranteed teachers 21 days of hospital care for $6 a year, was later extended to other employee groups in Dallas, and then nationally.[5] The American Hospital Association (AHA) adopted the Blue Cross symbol in 1939 as the emblem for plans meeting certain standards. In 1960, the AHA commission was superseded by the Blue Cross Association. Blue Cross severed its ties with the AHA in 1972.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield developed separately, with Blue Cross plans providing coverage for hospital services and Blue Shield covering physicians' services.[4]

Health care in the United States
Government Health Programs

Private health coverage

Health care reform law

State level reform
Municipal health coverage



  • History 1
  • Current organization 2
  • Member companies 3
  • Details on specific organizations 4
    • Idaho 4.1
    • Pennsylvania 4.2
  • Criticism and controversy 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Blue Cross was founded in 1929, and became the Blue Cross Association in 1960, while Blue Shield emerged in 1939 and the Blue Shield Association was created in 1948. The two organizations merged in 1982. [3] million Americans.[2]

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