Blue Cross Blue Shield began simply as Blue Cross, a company founded in 1929 to provide health insurance to teachers. Today, BCBS is an association of more than 30 independent companies and is one of the largest names in health insurance both in the United States and around the world. Across all of its companies, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association offers plans in all 50 states and insures more than 100 million Americans. It also operates the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, the largest group health plan in the world. Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are available to individuals, families, and employers and can be found both on and off the health insurance exchange.
With such a large number of companies operating under its umbrella, Blue Cross Blue Shield is able to offer one of the widest ranges of health plans of any insurer on the market today. Products available from BCBS include health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, and plans which can be used with a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). Blue Cross Blue Shield also offers Medicare plans, short-term health insurance, and dental and vision coverage. The exact plans and coverage options available will vary by location and from one BCBS subsidiary to another. As a whole, prices for these plans are fairly average, though this may also vary from one area to the next.
One of the biggest advantages of having a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan is the company’s massive network of healthcare providers. BCBS insurance is accepted at more than 90% of doctors and hospitals across America, making it incredibly convenient, especially for those who travel frequently.
Blue Cross Blue Shield’s website and mobile app are also worth noting. Through the BCBS website, members can review the details of their plan, make changes to coverage, file and check the status of claims, access benefits and services, find doctors, order medications, manage prescriptions, and ask questions about their plan and coverage. The site can also direct you to your local BCBS subsidiary. In addition to going through the website, members can also find doctors using the Blue Cross Blue Shield mobile app. This app not only helps users find in-network doctors by name – it also shows the physical location of their office and can provide directions on how to get there. Some individual BCBS companies offer additional apps dedicated to managing and improving health and wellness.
Members also have access to the Blue365 program, which promotes healthy living and offers discounts on fitness monitors, diet programs, health clubs, pedometers, and other supplies and services. The exact discounts and services available may vary based on which BCBS subsidiary provides your plan.
There aren’t many negative aspects to Blue Cross Blue Shield, but its structure can cause confusion at times. Because it is composed of numerous subsidiaries, it can be hard to tell whether information about the association, its plans, and so forth is actually applicable to what one would find locally. For example, prices associated with a given plan can vary significantly from one state to another, so unless you know that the description you are looking at is specifically for your state, it can be difficult to tell whether the prices you see online are what you would actually pay – for better or worse. The company’s structure can also make looking at reviews difficult, as BCBS does not micromanage their subsidiaries, and thus quality may vary from one company to another. However, as long as you know which specific part of the company operates in your area, this should not be too big a problem. The Blue Cross Blue Shield website can point you towards your local BCBS subsidiary.
Reputation and Financial Strength
Because it is an association of many different companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield itself is not usually given a specific financial rating. However, the association as a whole is considered very sound financially, and most of its component companies have earned A+ (superior) scores from A.M. Best, one of the leading independent ratings agencies. Financial rankings such as this are important to consider since they help predict a company’s ability to pay out future claims.
Reputation and customer satisfaction vary from one Blue Cross Blue Shield subsidiary to another, but are generally positive, and the association as a whole is respected and recommended by many. Those interested in specific reviews and financial information should find out which BCBS subsidiary operates in their area (the BCBS website has tools which can help with this) and conduct research on that company specifically.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is a well-established and financially sound association with nearly a century of experience in the health insurance industry. While prices, coverage, and reputation may vary from one subsidiary to another, Blue Cross Blue Shield as a whole is a reputable insurer with fair prices, a great selection of plans to choose from, and a huge network of doctors, hospitals, specialists, and other healthcare providers. This, combined with the wide availability of their plans, makes BCBS a sound choice for anyone looking to buy health coverage.
Following reviews are helpful.
Very Satisfied, April, 2019
I am a senior citizen above 75 years of age. I have been using health insurance coverage Medicare Advantage from Blue Cross Blue Shield since many years. I am totally satisfied with the coverage and their professional service.The plan offers me a wide network of health care professionals.
My medicines were changed to a cheaper substitute, April, 2019
The coverage that I have received from Blue Cross Blue Shield is satisfactory. However, I am not at all happy about the way my coverage for prescription drugs was changed. My medicines were changed to a cheaper substitute without any consultation with my doctor. I have requested them to reverse the change since the new medications don't seem to be working that well, but have not received any positive response yet.
I have no complaints against the coverage or benefits or the service, February, 2019
I have a Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance policy through my employer. I have no complaints against the coverage or benefits or the service. However, the rates are too high. I can feel the pinch now since I am retired and have to pay a hefty premium every month. The high cost is the only negative thing about this policy.
Great Coverage - Bad Rates, January, 2019
I have not seen any other coverage which is as good as the coverage I have from Blue Cross Blue Shield.I have never faced any problems with this company. My kids also had health insurance from BCBS - but unfortunately had to discontinue their coverage since they changed the child health plus program.
It is almost unaffordable to continue, January, 2019
Senior Care coverage has become greatly diminished. The premiums have also increased - it is almost unaffordable to continue.