Posted: Sep 17, 2012 1:50 PM by Stan Parker - Q2 News
Updated: Sep 17, 2012 1:59 PM
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana announced a big business move today, but promises that customers will see relatively little changes to the "look and feel" of their current health insurance policies.
In a conference call with reporters, CEO Mike Frank announced a new alliance with Health Care Service Corporation, one of the nation's largest insurers. That alliance is still waiting on regulatory approval from a few governing bodies.
Leaders of the two companies promised that this alliance will give Montana customers additional benefits: They'll still retain the local leadership and insurance agents they're used to, but with the added advantages of increased scale.
The two advantanges that were emphasized the most: financial strength and technology.
HCSC is the fourth largest insurer in the country, and currently operates the BCBS plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. With 13 million customers, that makes them the largest customer-owned health insurer in the nation.
Once the alliance is complete, BSBC will become part of HCSC, but nothing will really change in how customers relate to their current insurers. The BCBS logo will stay on the insurance cards. The local employees and leadership will stay in place.
BCBS and HCSC are both non-profit companies, so BCBS will retain that status.
All current BCBS employees will become employees of HCSC. Patricia Hemingway, the CEO of HCSC, said that the goal is to increase employment within Montana. The company has had a 20 percent increase in employment over the past six years.
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