Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is a collective of 36 different health insurance organizations and companies in the United States. The current Anthem – BCBS umbrella of coverage provides some form of health insurance to more than 106 million Americans, making it the second largest provider of health insurance products in the country.
Historically, Blue Cross emerged in 1929 and became the Blue Cross Association in 1960, while Blue Shield was founded in 1939 and became the Blue Shield Association in 1948. Blue Cross initially focused on offering hospital coverage whereas Blue Shield specialized in physician coverage policies. The two organizations finally merged in 1982 to form Blue Cross Blue Shield.
BCBS essentially rebranded after two of its larger affiliate organizations merged to become the nation’s leading health benefits company. In 2004, California-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc. and Anthem, Inc. out of Indiana created what would become the new campaign of Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance products. All of its existing affiliates would eventually integrate the name Anthem to serve as an operating brand of the collective entities, and BCBS is most widely known as Anthem in today’s current healthcare landscape. The Anthem Blue Cross association has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
Services Currently Offered by Anthem
Health insurance PPOs and HMOs
Medicare administration in many states or regions of the U.S.
State & federal employee coverage options
Anthem is also one of the biggest health benefits companies in the United States. Its broad portfolio contains not only integrated health plans and related services, but also a vast range of specialty products such as life and disability insurance, dental, vision, behavioral health benefit services, as well as long term care insurance and flexible spending accounts.
Anthem Member Statistics
106m members accessing health insurance products
Nearly 40m active total medical members
60% of members covered by local or group policies
Roughly 30% of members enrolled through a government program
$264b in total benefits paid
Health Providers and Facility Networks
Over 57,000 Provider Associates nationwide
$40 million in open community activities in 2017
Anthem Blue Cross is also proud to offer such universal accessibility to provider organizations all over the country through its BlueCard PPO policies
Anthem Coverage by State
Anthem Blue Cross insurers offer some form of health insurance coverage in every U.S. state. under one or more of the following entities:
Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield
Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area)
Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.)
Anthem Blue Cross (California)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
Empire BlueCross BlueShield (New York)
Multi-State Private Companies
CareFirst – District of Columbia, Maryland, Parts of Virginia
Health Care Service Corporation – BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, BlueCross, BlueShield of Montana, BlueCross BlueShield of New Mexico, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas
Highmark – Highmark BlueCross BlueShield (Western and Northeastern Pennsylvania), Highmark BlueShield (Eastern & Central Pennsylvania, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware (Delaware), Highmark BlueCross BlueShield West Virginia (formerly Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield) (West Virginia)
Premera – Premera BlueCross BlueShield of Alaska, Premera BlueCross (Washington)
Cambia Health Solutions – Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, Regence BlueShield (Washington)
Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield – Iowa, South Dakota
Single-state or regional companies
BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama
BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona
Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield
Blue Shield of California
BlueCross BlueShield of Florida (branded as Florida Blue)
Hawaii Medical Service Association
Blue Cross of Idaho
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (Central New York, Rochester and Utica/Watertown)
BlueShield of Northeastern New York (A division of HealthNow New York Inc.)
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York (A division of HealthNow New York Inc.)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Capital Blue Cross (Central Pennsylvania)
Independence Blue Cross (Philadelphia, Southeastern Pennsylvania)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
BlueCross BlueShield of the U.S. Virgin Islands
BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont
BlueCross BlueShield of Wyoming
Plans and Prices
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance companies are licensees, independent of the association and traditionally of each other, that are able to offer insurance plans within defined regions under one or both of the association’s brands. BCBS insurers offer some form of health insurance coverage in every U.S. state, and all of its affiliates have now integrated the operating brand Anthem in some form.
Anthem Blue Cross also acts as an administrator of Medicare in many states or regions of the U.S. In addition, its Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. provides coverage to both state government employees as well as to federal government employees under one policy.
It’s important to learn the difference between HMO vs PPO policies when working with BCBS as your carrier, and it is also vital that you investigate the rates that are most often quoted by your local agency since they will vary considerably.
Our health insurance comparison tool can help you compare different levels of BCBS coverage.
Estimated Premium Rates:
35 Years of Age:$200 – $400 National Average is $300/mo
45 Years of Age:$250 – $470 National Average is $350/mo
55 Years of Age: $390 – $800 National Average is $550/mo
Anthem Benefits Levels
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) policies usually offer four tiers of benefits levels to its members. From lowest premium to highest premium, they plans most commonly available are: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
Each level is supposed to provide the same essential health benefits and quality of care, but the higher monthly premium plans offer additional coverage. Your deductible and other out-of-pocket costs like hospital visits or prescription medications are determined by the specific policy that you select from your local BCBS group. Like most carrier plans, you will need to qualify to enroll in particular BCBS policies.
Employer-based and Non-Group or Individual policies are also available. These types of plans offer customized benefits level access to Anthem Blue Cross plans. See if you qualify for 2018 discounts that can save you 55%-75% on your health insurance premiums!
ANTHEM HEALTH INSURANCE
Top Ten Reviews:9.90/ 10
ADVANTAGES /With 37 companies across the United States, Blue Cross Blue Shield has the greatest reach nationally and offers the best policy diversity with its shared access network.
DISADVANTAGES / The quality of service and pricing for each policy varies significantly since Anthem Blue Cross affiliates are able to operate as independent agencies. This means that the details of your coverage usually depends on the specific agency servicing your local area.
CONSUMER TAKEAWAYS /Anthem Blue Cross certainly surpasses its competitors with such a uniquely extensive selection of coverage policies, but its corporate structure makes it such that the consumer is left without standardized pricing protections. There seems to be consumer frustration with a lack of accountability when it comes to any Anthem Blue Cross claims disputes as well, but the company has a sustainable track record offering both government and non-government policies to its members. Anthem Blue Cross also scored a 9.90/10 overall rating from Top Ten Reviews.