NEW YORK (AP) — Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans covering 10 million customers in six states, including Utah, agreed to affiliate in order to attract large multistage employers and save money by consolidating some administrative operations.
The affiliation is among Blues plans in Illinois and Texas, which are now part of Health Care Service Corp. based in Chicago, and plans in Washington, Oregon, Utah and Idaho, which are part of The Regency Group. DISC covers about 7 million customers; Regency has about 3 million customers.
The affiliation will carry the Regency name and have its primary headquarters in Chicago, with key corporate functions also in Portland, Ore. Individual plans will continue to use their current Blue Cross and Blue Shield names.
The affiliation calls for a combined board of directors and a single overall management team. But the move is not a merger and does not involve any combination of assets. Also, officials say customer benefits will not be affected.
The affiliation marks an ongoing trend among the nation's individual Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to increasingly work together to compete against rival national plans such as Etna and United.