Developed in 1929 by a man named Justin Ford Kimball, Blue Cross was an association of health insurance plans. It was in 1982, after Blue Cross had originally lost its affiliation with the American Hospital Association, that they merged with National Association of Blue Shield Plans to form Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Technically, Blue Cross Blue Shield is a trade association for a series of locally operated plans. There are 40 local member companies of Blue Cross Blue Shiled that operate under the umbrella. In addition, the company, or rather its local affiliates, act as Social Security administrators. Many would say, in fact, that managed health care in the United States is very closely linked to the Blue Cross Blue Shield design.
Blue Cross Blue Shield’s operating headquarters are located in Chicago Illinois and in Washington D. C. The company employs about 850 people in its headquarters. The Member Blue Plans part of the company employs over 15,000 people, making it one of the 20 largest employers in the United States.
About a third of all Americans, including those in Puerto Rico, or 93 million Americans, are being provided health care from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Their insurance plans reach a variety of people through a variety of products including those for small business, large corporations, or private individuals.
Since the inception of Medicare by the US government in 1965, Blue Cross Blue Shield has helped to process the claims and payments. In 2003, in fact, the company’s Medicare contractors processed about 90 percent of the Medicare claims from hospitals and about 72 percent of those from physicians and practitioners in the health field.
The Blue Card Program is one that links healthcare providers and each individual Blue Plan in the country through one electronic network for both claims processing and reimbursement. This allows them to serve large nationally known corporations like Microsoft, Xerox, and UPS. Over half of the fortune 500 companies are covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The company also includes a very comprehensive website. There, you can find out more about the history of the company, locations for the 40 national member companies that are in line with Blue Card Program , and you can also look up doctors and hospitals on the Blue Card Program. There is contacts information and even a very comprehensive frequently asked questions page that is helpful. Press releases are easy to find, as is the glossary, which is very helpful if you are unfamiliar with insurance and health care related vocabulary. Overall, the website is easy to navigate, easy to read, and most importantly it is comprehensive and helpful.
If you are wondering about healthcare options, then you should at the very least know who Blue Cross Blue Shield is. Through the information available here or at there website, you will be able to make educated decisions on whether or not their healthcare is right for you or your company.
Christopher M. Luck has over 15 years experience in working in upper management at Blue Cross Blue Sheildand is now offering his free professional Health Advice to the public. If you are at all interested in Christopher's health insurance advice, tips, or secrets, you can visit his health insurance blog .