The dominant health insurer in the Bay State, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) covers some 3 million members. The company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, offers a variety of individual and employer-sponsored health care plans, including HMO (HMO Blue), PPO (Blue Options), and point-of-service (Blue Choice) plans, as well as various hybrid options and personal spending accounts to cover out-of-pocket costs. BCBSMA also provides Medicare options and dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage. Its provider network includes more than 20,000 physicians and about 75 hospitals across the state. The health care firm was founded in 1937.
BCBSMA's HMO plans are offered through its Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts HMO Blue subsidiary. The company's dental plans are provided under the Dental Blue banner, and the vision coverage options are available through a partnership with Davis Vision. In addition to health-related coverage, BCBSMA provides life and disability policies through an affiliation with Indigo Insurance Services and USAble Life.
BCBSMA saw 2011 revenue rise 3% to $2.4 billion. Net income, which took a huge tumble in 2009 amid tough economic conditions, rebounded in 2010 and 2011. In 2011 it jumped more than 200% to about $17 million.
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In response to sweeping health care reforms passed in Massachusetts in 2006, BCBSMA has introduced several new products (called Commonwealth Choice plans) intended for individuals required to purchased insurance coverage under the new law. Efforts to perfect the system are ongoing, and new plans continue to be launched; for instance, BCBSMA introduced new coverage options for municipal employees in 2011 and the following year made five of its health plan options available to small businesses.
The company has been pushing information technology as a means to keep medical costs lower and improve care. In 2011 it joined other Blue Cross and Blue Shield groups in ownership of NASCO, which provides IT services for more efficient claims processing. Other cost-control measures include the promotion of consumer wellness and healthy lifestyle programs and increased customer access to online medical records and claims data.