The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is the first insurer to receive a federal contract to offer individual insurance coverage options across a majority of state insurance exchanges in 2014, as part of a program to boost competition and consumer choice under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In a Monday announcement, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which will administer the multistate plan program, said the Blues will offer more than 150 plan options in 30 states as well as in the District of Columbia.
The multistate plans will be available on Oct. 1, when the exchanges' six-month open enrollment period begins, and coverage will begin on Jan. 1, said the OPM, which also runs the health benefits program for federal employees.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association cheered the federal government's announcement and said it will offer a wide range of plans, including PPOs and HMOs, as part of its multistate options. Some of those plans will have national provider networks, said Alissa Fox, the Blues' senior vice president of policy and representation. With this latest contract, the Blues will be offering plans on nearly every state exchange, Fox added.