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Home arrow Resources arrow Articles arrow A Look at Blue Shield Health Insurance for the Average Consumer

A Look at Blue Shield Health Insurance for the Average Consumer

Why a Blue Shield Health Insurance Plan is the Better Option

It's important to educate yourself on health care, health care providers, and health care reform. California has more uninsured people than any other state at around 8.2 million, and current estimates are that a good 3.1 million will still be uninsured even after the federal Affordable Care Act kicks in. Regardless of what the new legislation will mean for you, it's important to get covered now and to do the research so that you can make an informed decision when buying insurance.

Blue Shield insurance is one of the top providers in California, but you shouldn't go on that alone. Take the time to learn about the company's reputation and the plans they offer and then make a decision.

A Brief Look at Blue Shield Insurance

Founded in 1939 in San Francisco, Blue Shield is a not-for-profit organization with a stellar reputation, scoring three out of four on the 2011 California Health Care Quality Report Card, earning a spot on Businessweek's most generous corporate foundations list through its Blue Shield Foundation, and being rated one of the most ethical companies in the world.

The company actually pitched health care reform as far back as 2002, putting it far ahead of the curve in the current health-care debate.

True, you're probably going to make your insurance purchasing decision based on price and what is and is not covered by this or that plan, but it should be noted that Blue Shield is a company that fights to keep its prices low and one that has a reputation for reliable, honest dealings with its customers at a time when many people are distrustful of the health care industry.

What It Offers

Beyond the company's reputation, what's truly important is what is offered. Here are a few reasons to consider Blue Shield:

1. A Huge Network

Through its association with Blue Cross, Blue Shield is connected with more than 90 percent of all hospitals and more than 80 percent of all physicians in California. The sheer magnitude of its network means that you don't need to worry about not being covered when you live in San Francisco and you're visiting a friend in San Luis Obispo. You'll be covered.

2. Full Coverage Options

Because of Blue Shield's size and its place in the greater Blue Shield Blue Cross Association, it can offer nearly every kind of health insurance that you might need. Customers can get dental, life, vision, and stop-loss insurance under a single provider's roof. This means a lower price and less red tape.

3. A Wide Range of Coverage Choices

From PPOs to HMOs, Blue Shield offers a plan for everybody. It also provides everything from individual and family to employee and group health care. It sells to literally every sector, from the rich to the poor, from civilian to military, to ensure that every Californian has access to affordable health care.

A Look at Blue Shield Health Insurance Plans

Because many plans are custom-designed by and for the customer and because the company offers such a wide range of health insurance plans, there isn't space to list every single one of them here. Instead, here is a brief breakdown of the offerings in broad strokes:

1. LIHPs

For low-income, childless adults making less than 200 percent of the poverty level, Blue Shield offers affordable plans through the Blue Shield Foundation and the Low Income Health Plans initiative. If you don't make enough to purchase a pricier plan through the company, you may want to look into its LIHP options.

2. A 45,416-Strong PPO

With 16,443 primary care physicians and 28,973 specialists in California alone, Blue Shield Health Insurance offers a PPO program with more than 45,000 health care providers waiting to handle your needs, making it effectively the biggest PPO plan in California.

3. An HMO Network with 296 Hospitals

In California, nearly 300 hospitals are connected by the Blue Shield HMO network. Practically the entire state is covered by Blue Shield of California.

Blue Shield, along with Blue Cross, comprises a network that offers affordable and high-quality care for Californians of every stripe. Take the time to consider Blue Shield for your health insurance needs.

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