The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association said it is going into the banking business to provide administrative and financial support to Blues plans' consumer-directed healthcare offerings. Blue Healthcare Bank will require regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Utah, where it will be chartered. Officials plan to launch the bank in the summer of 2006, but it will not be fully operational until the beginning of 2007, a spokesman said. According to the association, 57% of employers say they are considering consumer-driven products, with industry experts projecting total enrollment in consumer-driven products to exceed 20 million by 2008. "It's important for the Blues to offer consumers a complete line of healthcare services, and in the area of consumer-directed healthcare, that means strong financial services," Richard Hale, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi and chairman of the association's board, said in a news release. -- by Cinda Becker
Blues group's bank to support consumer-directed plans
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