The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association wants to launch a bank that will administer its consumer-directed health plans, a responsibility currently shared by third-party financial institutions. The association announced Monday that its board of directors has approved development of the Blue Healthcare Bank. The aim is to simplify the administration of health savings accounts and other similar plans offered by Blues insurers throughout the U.S., said Scott Serota, the association's president and chief executive officer.
The bank, which would be based in Salt Lake City, would give those enrolled in Blues plans a familiar, centralized financial institution to monitor and access their accounts, Serota said. Creation of the bank is subject to regulatory approval. "By being closely aligned and integrated with your benefits, we will be able to ensure that your account is paid properly and that your deductible will be applied correctly," he added.
"For those of us in health policy circles, that was viewed as a savvy, way ahead of the curve move," said Alwyn Cassil, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Center for Studying Health System Change. Cassil said consumers have been slow to embrace HSAs, but this is expected to change as more companies look for alternatives to rising healthcare costs.