Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance companies are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an 80-year-old trade group based in Chicago. The association works with 38 Blue Cross branded community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance companies. The association???s member Blues Plans provide health coverage in all 50 states. These health plans have licenses from the association to sell Blue Cross policies and coverage across the country and they have different ownership structures. Some are for-profit or investor-owned, such as Anthem/Wellpoint, which has shareholders and sells coverage in many states. Some plans, called “mutual plans,” are owned by policyholders. These include Health Care Service Corp., the nation???s fourth-largest health insurance company, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The 39 plans provide coverage for nearly 100 million people.
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