Montana Blue plan joins Health Care Services Corp.
Health Care Services Corp., the largest customer-owned health insurer in the country with more than 13 million members, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana announced they would be aligning in a deal that is expected to provide the Montana Blue with added operational efficiencies.
The companies, which have termed their agreement an alliance, must now await the decision of state and national regulators to approve the deal. If approved, BCBSMT will join with Chicago-based HCSC’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and will add more than 270,000 members to HCSC rolls.
“The premier health insurance company in Montana is about to get even better," said Michael E. Frank, president and CEO of BCBSMT, the state’s largest insurer, in a press release. “As we look to the future of healthcare in Montana, we believe HCSC will bolster our efforts to serve the unique needs of our state.”
According to Frank, the alliance will allow BCBSMT to tap not only the financial strength of HCSC, but also provide it with access to the technology and tools it needs to create stronger partnerships with the providers in its network.
“What we bring to the table through this alliance are additional resources to offer affordable healthcare coverage to every corner of Montana in new and innovative ways,” said Patricia Hemingway Hall, president and CEO of HCSC in a prepared statement.
Not-for-profit BCBSMT serves its members through a broad network of more than 20,000 physicians, all of the hospitals in the state and roughly 2,800 allied healthcare providers. Frank will stay on to lead the insurer and it will continue to operate under its current name.
HCSC was formed in the 1970s as a result of the merger of two Illinois-based Blue plans. Since the late 1990s it has been on a slow, but steady growth path either acquiring or merging with other non-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield operations. Its last expansion to another state was in 2005 when it merged with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.