Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Overview
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is made up of almost 40 different insurance organizations throughout the United States. It operates as a federation, and insurance companies are licensed to operate under the Blue Cross Blue Shield Banner.
The organization itself is a not-for-profit outfit that has come together from a collection of previous non-profit healthcare federations, including the original Blue Cross, and the original Blue Shield. The history of the organization dates back to 1929, when the original Blue Cross was established.
Since the organization is a network of insurance companies rather than one large business, consumers may find different levels of care and customer service depending on what underlying company they are working with. This review will cover Blue Cross Blue Shield as a whole, where possible, based on consumer data readily available.
Blue Cross Blue Shield offers insurance products for individuals, families and businesses. As one of the largest health care provider networks in the United States, their product offerings reflect the large scale at which they operate. Some of their most popular products include:
- Individual Health Insurance
- High-Deductible Health Insurance
- Health Savings Accounts
- Dental Insurance
- Small Business Health Insurance
- Corporate Health Insurance
Blue Cross Blue Shield Consumer Complaints
Since Blue Cross Blue Shield operates independently throughout the United States, there are dozens of Better Business Bureau entries for the company, most by state. Since they are headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, this review will use the Illinois BBB rating.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau and currently has an F rating. The first complaint was filed with the BBB in 1941. In the previous three years there have been 151 complaints lodged against Blue Cross Blue Shield, and 38 in the past 12 months.
The number one complaint according to the BBB website surrounds problems with the products and services, with billing and collection coming in second. The BBB currently shows 7 complaints in which Blue Cross Blue Shield has not resolved the issue, and an additional 8 in which there was no response from the business whatsoever.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Consumer Research Reports
J.D. Power and Associates – According to J.D. Power’s 2012 US Member Health Plan Study, Blue Cross Blue Shield scored just above average when factoring together the three largest population centers. California came in the lowest with an overall rating of 2 out of 5, while the Texas arm scored 5 out of 5 and was rated best overall in the state.
Consumer Reports –Information from Consumer Reports about Blue Cross Blue Shield proved to be sparse, at best, with California being the only state in which there was data. For the PPO plans the company was divided into two organizations, one Blue Cross and one Blue Shield. Blue Cross scored 80 out of 100, which is about average. Blue Shield, however, scored a 63 which is the lowest score recorded in any review up to this point.
For information on how we use consumer research reports, click here.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Financial Ratings
A.M. Best Rating – A
Fitch Rating – A-
Blue Cross Blue Shield Overall Rating
Blue Cross Blue Shield is a very large organization that operates in some capacity within every state in the United States. They offer individual, family and business plans to fit just about every need available. The underlying organization is not-for-profit, which at least in theory is a good thing.
Since the organization is broke up into smaller groups that are state specific, care can range wildly depending on what state you are in. The ratings range from below average to best depending on what state is being examined.
The Better Business Bureau rating as well as the Consumer Reports review are below average. In addition, Standard and Poor’s credit rating of Blue Cross Blue Shield puts them at a C+.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.
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About the Author
I am a former insurance agent turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.