Folks who hang their hats in Tuscaloosa or Birmingham (or any other Alabama city) may depend on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama when they need medical coverage. The state's largest health benefits provider, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama administers individual, corporate and federal employer-sponsored, and Medicare health plans to more than 3 million members representing about 30,000 companies. Its insurance products include PPO and high-deductible health plans, as well as dental policies. The company also sells long-term care insurance (dubbed Preferred LTC), and it provides disease management services and wellness programs. It is a licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Founded in 1936, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has more than a dozen service centers and support offices across the state. The company is working to improve its offerings for individual customers. Its low-premium, high-deductable plans are coupled with tax-advantaged health spending accounts called Preferred Blue Accounts to allow customers more independence. The company formed a new consumer insurance division in 2008 to market the individual offerings. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is also promoting wellness programs (such as weight loss contests and free health screenings in schools) to increase preventative care measures for all clients.
In the face of nationwide health care reform debates, the state of Alabama has come into the spotlight as an example of a market where insurance options are limited. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama controls nearly 90% of the state's insurance market. Regardless of its market advantage, the company has received marks placing it in the top three nationwide managed care providers based on Consumer Reports surveys in several recent years, including 2009.
In 2010, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama expanded its Medicare offerings for the first time in more than a decade by adding Plan F to its coverage options. In addition to everything covered by Medicare C Plus, Medicare C Plus Plan F covers copayments for skilled nursing facilities and medically necessary emergency care outside the US.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama took ownership of about 20% of Prime Therapeutics in 2010 as part of a deal with the company to provide additional pharmacy benefit management services to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama's non-Medicare members. Prime Therapeutics was already owned by a dozen BCBS plans, and with the addition of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama it provides PBM services to about 20 plans nationwide.
The company intends to continue its expansion in 2011 by introducing four new health plans: BlueChoice Essential, BlueChoice Plus, Classic Blue, and Total Blue. The plans range from the classic PPO model to health savings account and high-deductible plans.
In 2010, upon the retirement of Phillip Pope, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama appointed Terry Kellogg as president and CEO. Kellogg has been with the company since 1982 and previously served as president and COO.
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