Blue Cross and Blue Shield Insurance

Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the product of two merged institutions who together provide medical insurance for more than 100 million Americans. The organizations, arranged initially to be very much like that of the American Automobile Association, have smaller state and regional subsidiaries that deliver health care and insurance to their customers.

Originally Blue Cross and Blue Shield were two different organizations. Blue Cross was a small organization developed to provide insurance for hospital and major medical needs, while Blue Shield was designed as an “everyday” insurance for smaller and less costly doctor visits.

The Blue Cross was formed by a group of teachers to provide a certain amount of hospital coverage each year for a fixed price of $6. The group was later expanded as more and more people saw the financial rewards of insurance, and the organization slowly grew into one of the largest major medical insurance companies. The Blue Shield had similarly humble roots. A product of the turn of the 20th century, labor workers in the lumber and mining sector came together to group purchase medical care from local doctors. The plans worked so well that they spread to many other laborers, and now to the general population.

After the two combined in the 1980s, most local elements of Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance dropped the distinction, though it is still common to hear Blue Cross referred to for major medical coverage, and Blue Shield for small physician visits. While Blue Cross and Blue Shield Insurance were once not-for-profit entities, the merged group changed its charter to allow subsidiaries to profit from delivering medical insurance. The modern insurance company operates like any franchisee system, with smaller owners operating the most retail functions of the operations.

Insurance Offered
The combined organization has a number of different plans and types of insurance offered among its smaller member companies. These include traditional health insurance, medicare supplemental insurance, dental, vision and life insurance. Many people who opt to do business with Anthem buy all of their insurance in one stop, earning discounts on the total cost.

Alongside health insurance, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield offers Health Savings accounts to help defray the costs of medical care with regular monthly savings in a tax-exempt account. These savings can be used to purchase everything from prescriptions to paying medical bills, are are a great way to self insure for inexpensive medical care.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield dental insurance is based on a network, much like their other insurance offerings, so it may be more exclusive than other insurance policies. However, building in a dental plan with a health insurance policy is very inexpensive, and will outweigh the burden of going to a list of dentists for some people.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield vision insurance is perhaps more of an operation of Blue Shield than it is Blue Cross. This insurance covers annual vision checkups as well as a pair of glasses or correctional products on a set calendar period. Depending on the level of insurance, more or less services are provided.

It would seem fitting that health and life insurance would go together, so Blue Cross and Blue Shield offer term life insurance that is built into another policy. The organization does not, however, offer whole life insurance, so that is an important consideration should you think you need whole life coverage for you or for loved ones. Most Anthem life insurance policies are in the range of $10,000-$50,000 and are not designed to cover lost income in the case of a death, but merely the cost of funeral and burial.

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