Historically, Blue Cross and Blue Shield developed as separate companies which amalgamated in 1982 to create the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS). The Blue Cross organisation originally began life in 1929 in Dallas, Texas, however didn’t become known as the Blue Cross until the 1960s. In contrast the Blue Shield organisation was formed in 1939. Each organisation dealt with a different aspect of healthcare; Blue Cross traditionally dealt with hospitalisation and associated care, whereas Blue Shield dealt with physician treatment. Together, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has grown to be the largest health care insurance provider in the US, with approximately 1 in 3 Americans relying on them for their medical insurance. The major insurance plans offered by the association are outlined below. Please note these may vary from state to state so it is important to check with your insurance provider.
Blue Choice Preferred
This is often considered the premium Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, as it offers the most flexibility and best benefits. These benefits do come at a cost though, and the Preferred plan has higher monthly premiums and out of pocket expenses than most of the other plans on offer.
Blue precision is a mid-range plan which offers a lower monthly premium, but without the flexibility of the Preferred Plan. With the Gold and Platinum levels of the Precision plan, there are lower out of pocket costs, like copayments and deductibles.
Blue Care Direct
Blue Care Direct offers lower monthly premiums and lower out of pocket costs than most individual plans. As with all Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, the plan offers access to the widest health care network in the states. Persons who choose the Direct plan will benefit from same day appointments for primary care, access to a cardiologist within a day, and same day mammograms and results.
It is important to note that there are also varying levels of cover within each plan, ranging from Bronze, which is the most basic cover, to Platinum, the best cover available under each plan.