Blue Cross Blue Shield: Company Overview

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest healthcare providers in the US. Coverage is available in all 50 states and is accepted by 90% of doctors and specialists.

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross was formed in 1929 as a partnership between Baylor University Hospital and its patients who were struggling financially. The administrators of the hospital wanted to make healthcare more affordable for some patients, many of whom were Dallas public school educators on restricted budgets. The initial payment plan set up by Baylor University Hospital consisted of a 50-cent prepay each month for up to 21 days of hospitalization per year. The success of the program lead to enrollment by employees in other professions across Dallas.

Blue Shield also began with workers, who faced illness and occupational hazards, including Pacific Northwest loggers and miners who faced physical challenges. Employers began to organize plans to provide medical services through partnerships with practitioners and groups of physicians for a manageable monthly fee.

Through the 1930s and 1940s, Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s plans became popular across the country and in 1933, the first Blue Cross Baby was born in Durham, North Carolina. Her 10-day hospital stay totaled $60. During the 1940s, Blue Cross and Blue Shield grew their program together to include 81 hospital plans and 44 medical plans.The two companies also unified to insure 24 million members nationwide with comprehensive coverage. 

During the 1950s and 1960s membership increased so that Blue Cross had 52 million members and Blue Shield had 40 million members. Federal employees also chose Blue Cross Blue Shield when the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) gave federal employees a choice. Today, it continues to be the plan of choice as well.

Medicare was signed into law in 1966, and Blue Cross Blue Shield was the only company with the capacity to handle the claims processing for 5 million Medicare patients that first year. In 1978 Blue Cross and Blue Shield took their partnership a step farther, by consolidating staff and operations, forming the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in 1982. BCBS persevered despite the economic turbulence of the 1990s and managed to grow their member services, with programs like the BlueCard®, which allowed members to obtain healthcare services while traveling or living in another service area. By the late 2000s, enrollment topped 100 million members.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is part of the Anthem Health Group (Anthem Health) and its entities are part of the core subsidiaries of Anthem. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Facts & Ratings

Year Founded 1929
Market Share Percentage 14.1%
Financial Strength Excellent
BBB Rating A-
A.M. Best Rating A
S&P Rating A+

Blue Cross Blue Shield Mobile App Rating

Each state has its own Blue Cross Blue Shield app on iTunes and GooglePlay. The app allows users to find doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, view claims, pay bill, and manage prescriptions.

Pros & Cons of Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield is financially strong and stable
  • As a subsidiary of Anthem Inc. BCBS is one of the most prominent health insurers.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield offers global coverage and a global coverage app on itunes and GooglePlay.
  • BCBS is available in 50 states and is accepted by 90% of doctors and specialists.
  • Blue Shields prices are slightly higher than the average. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield Enrollment Process

Blue Cross Blue Shield is available through participating employers for group insurance. You can also buy an individual or family plan directly from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the health insurance marketplace or you can get several free quotes here.

You can also contact 888.630.2583 to learn more about Blue Cross Blue Shield options for individuals and families or find a local BCBS company by visiting here.

How to file a claim with Blue Cross Blue Shield

If you use a network doctor or hospital, your claims will be submitted by that provider. If you see an out-of-network provider, you need to submit the claim yourself. You must submit a completed claim form or alternative documentation via fax or mailing address. As an alternative to sending a claim form, supply a description of services, a bill of charges from the provider and any medical documents you received from your provider.

For medical and/or dental services in the U.S. Puerto Rico or the U.S Virgin islands, Use these claim forms. For anywhere else or on a cruise ship outside the U.S. use the Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Core international claim forms. For prescriptions inside or outside the U.S. or U.S. territories: Use these claim forms.

Common Questions about Blue Cross Blue Shield

Is Blue Cross the same as Blue Shield?

Blue Cross and Blue Shield took their partnership a step farther, by consolidating staff and operations, forming the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in 1982. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is a federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

How does Blue Cross Blue Shield work?

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) offers employer-provided health insurance or group health insurance. BCBS also offers individual and family health plans.

What is the Blue365® program?

Blue365 is a free health and wellness discount program offered to members. It includes discounts on gym memberships, fitness gear, healthy eating options and more.

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover outside the US?

For people living or working abroad for an extended period of time, there are GeoBlue plans available through BCBS.

What is Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare?

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield offers a Medicare Supplement Plan, also called “Medigap” which pays for out-of-pocket expenses you’ll have with Original Medicare. Blue Cross Blue Shield also offers Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C. This is Medicare coverage through private health insurance companies approved to participate in the Medicare program.

Does Blue Cross have good supplemental insurance reviews?

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has an award-winning Medigap plan.

How to replace the Blue Cross member ID card:

If your Blue Cross ID card is lost or damaged, you can get a replacement ID card by logging into your Blue Cross Account. After signing in, go to the right hand column and select “order new cards.”

What is the BlueCard® program?

BlueCard® is a national program that allows Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan members to get health care services while traveling or living in another Blue Plan’s service area.

How to change Blue Cross coverage:

You can make changes to your Blue Cross coverage during open enrollment, which usually runs Nov 1 through Dec 15th. It’s best to speak with an agent if you’ve had a qualifying event, which makes you eligible to change, drop or add coverage at any time.

Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover dental?

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield offers dental plans. BCBS also offers dental + vision plans.

What are Blue Cross out-of-pocket maximums?

When your deductible, coinsurance and copays reach the individual maximum, the plan pays 100 percent of the allowed amount for that person.

How to cancel Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance?

To cancel your Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, speak with an agent or call.

What is a flexible spending account by Blue Cross?

A flexible spending account is a way to set aside money for medical, dental and vision expenses or dependent care. You accumulate money in your account through pre-tax deductions from your paycheck. Your employer owns the account and may contribute to it as well as yourself, but decide how to spend the funds.

Does Blue Cross cover Lasik?

You can receive up to 25% off laser vision surgery if you have a Blue Cross Blue Shield vision plan. You can also use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for the vision correction procedure.

What is Blue Distinction® Specialty Care?

Blue Distinction® Specialty Care focuses on hospitals and facilities that provide safe, effective treatment for specialty procedures like knee and hip replacement, cardiac care, bariatric (weight loss) surgery and transplants.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Contact Info

Address 225 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
Phone 1 (888) 630 - 2583
Website https://www.bcbs.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnthemBlueCrossBlueShield/
Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/bluecrossblueshield
Twitter https://twitter.com/BCBSAssociation
Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/company/blue-cross-and-blue-shield-association/

Methodology

The information listed on this page is from our own in house research. It is accurate as of the article publish date. Visit the carrier website for additional information.

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