Blues plans dive into care delivery

As the nation's largest insurers have evolved to become health services organizations capable of providing healthcare and paying for it too, several Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are following suit and becoming providers as well.

BCBS plans have spent 2023 reorganizing to better compete with larger insurers through corporate restructuring, M&A or the launch of healthcare delivery subsidiaries.

In recent years, BCBS plans opened medical clinics that exclusively serve their members. Premera Blue Cross partnered with Seattle-based Kinwell Medical Group in 2022 to open primary care clinics for its members in Washington state. Back in 2016, Florida Blue and Alignment Healthcare opened six clinics for their members in Florida.

This year, BCBS Arizona launched a new primary care company, Prosano Health Solutions. The new subsidiary has opened its first facility in Maricopa County, with three more locations opening in 2024. Prosano launched in January for BCBS Arizona employees, with 1,800 employees and their dependents enrolling. A new health plan, the BlueSignature Prosano PPO plan, will be offered to employer groups in 2024 and provide access to the Prosano care centers.

"Prosano Health's Advanced Primary Care offering is just our first step in becoming a health solutions company," Beth Ginzinger, chief transformation officer at BCBS Arizona and president of Prosano Health Solutions, said. "Next, we will begin to address specific geographic areas in Arizona that require solutions to improve access to care."

In October, BCBS North Carolina announced it intends to purchase 55 North Carolina locations of FastMed, a national chain of urgent care clinics. FastMed offers preventive, telehealth, occupational health, primary and urgent care services at clinics across North Carolina, Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Blue Cross NC and FastMed would collaborate on and invest in ways to further enhance services at the clinics, and short-term plans include returning service operations to pre-pandemic levels.

"With approximately half of FastMed's clinics located in rural areas of our state with limited access to health care resources, this is an important investment in North Carolina," Blue Cross NC CEO Tunde Sotunde said

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