In Brief

  • Established in 1982
  • 36 local branches throughout the United States
  • Over 100 Million members
Nationwide Coverage
Respected Network of Medical Practitioners and Facilities
Higher than Average Price
Services can Vary

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)

In some shape or form, Blue Cross Blue Shield has been active in the United States for over 90 years. 

Originally the company was two separate entities, Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Blue Cross has been active since 1929, and Blue Shield followed ten years later in 1939. The two companies eventually merged with one another in 1982. Since then they have become even more compartmentalized with the BCBS family now comprising 36 independent companies throughout the states.

This segmentation is based on regional coverage and allows them to cater to specific areas across the United States. As a result, they do not operate with a nationwide service. For the most part, the packages remain the same no matter where you reside. However, certain clients will find different pricing plans and product ranges based on their location. 

When dealing with the organization online, customers must file their initial requests on the BCBS national website. From there, a customer will contact their local branch about their specific inquiry.

Today, BCBS provides coverage to over 100 million Americans. It is one of the foremost health insurance providers in operation. Their extensive network of medical practitioners ranks alongside the best in the business. Americans can rest assured they are well covered with a BCBS plan.

Pricing & Plans

Each of BCBS’ 36 local branches offers a different set of plans and prices, so the first thing you have to do is locate your specific branch. There are multiple plans available for both professional and family clients with a range of different prices. On the whole, the cost of BCBS insurance is above the national average. 

There are good reasons for this – the coverage they offer and their well-earned reputation. The extra costs can easily be redeemed when you factor in the size of the BCBS network.  

They offer the standard employment-based, and individual/family plans as well as medicare, dental, vision, and Medigap plans. Medigap is BCBS’ unique approach to filling in for the costs that Medicare does not already cover. The two plans work in unison, so getting the Medigap plan means you also have the medicare plan.

When it comes to using your plan at hospitals and doctor’s offices etc, BCBS is better than most. Having a plan with BCBS gives you nationwide coverage to thousands of medical facilities throughout the states. 

There are two major coverage options available to clients: the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). The PPO plan provides coverage for out-of-network providers at any time. This means you can be seen wherever you are in the country. The HMO plan on the other hand only covers you locally unless it is a case of a medical emergency. 

The dental plan – BlueDental – provides access to a nationwide network of over 100,000 dentists. Likewise, the BlueVision eye care plan is good in over 3000 different locations throughout the U.S.


  • Coverage in every state
  • Health and wellness discounts 
  • Prescription drugs coverage

Thanks to it being an amalgamation of 36 local branches, BCBS offers a wide selection of health practitioners across the United States. They have also added a travel abroad component to most of their plans that grants coverage to international travelers. BCBS stacks up very well against its competitors on coverage area. They are present in all 50 states, so getting to see a medical practitioner should not present any major problems for clients who are traveling across the country.

The discounts available towards health and wellness-related programs are all offered through BCBS’ Blue365 feature. The programs are all regional and do vary from location to location. Generally, the health and wellness programs include options such as health clubs and spas, fitness training and fitness instruction, dietary instruction and dieting programs, and many other health-related programs. 

When it comes to medication, BCBS respects each state-approved drug list. What that means is that clients are covered for both brand name and generic versions of prescription medication. The list of available medications is made available on each local BCBS website and does vary slightly from state to state.  


The overall customer response to Blue Cross Blue Shield’s coverage is positive. The website is considered to be a useful resource with information freely available on most of the pertinent topics. 

The majority of the policy information that customers will need to assess their medical coverage can be found on the national website. This includes common inquiries such as how to find doctors when you are out of town, how to get reimbursed for expenses, and details on the Blue 365 program.   

If users can’t find what they need on the national website there is also a local version of each site available for specific regional policy information. 

Finding a quote online is a relatively straightforward process that can be completed by filling in your details. In addition, all the claims forms are available for download on the national website.

In general, the fact that BCBS offers nationwide coverage that is accepted by so many medical facilities is an overwhelming plus point. The 36 local branch division does create the possibility for confusion at times but it also has benefits. The price of a plan is slightly above average but not to the point of major significance. 

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