Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Massachusetts and New Hampshire last week announced their intent to form a regional company aimed at broadening their collective capabilities to operate across state lines.
Formation of the new company is in response to regional expansion by major competitors such as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Associated Health Plans, said Joe Macrum, spokesman for the Massachusetts Blues.
Those competitors can operate freely across state lines because they aren't organized and licensed according to state boundaries as Blues plans are, Macrum said.
The new company would supply that flexibility to Blues service and marketing initiatives, he said.
The six Blues plans in New England organized last year to provide uniform regional HMO and PPO plans for multiple-state employers (June 19, 1995, p. 26).
That initiative served as a catalyst for the proposed regional company, which would allow the Blues plans in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to expand the number of offerings to regional customers and enhance the two plans' capability to market to those customers, Macrum said.
The scope of the services and resources planned for the company won't be determined until a memorandum of understanding is hammered out, said Clark Dumont, spokesman for the New Hampshire Blues.