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Blue Shield Health Insurance

Blue Shield of California

Authorized Insurance Agency, Insure with Carriers Inc.

Blue Shield of California is the California's third largest health plan.

It has 2.6 million members and $6 billion in annual revenue. Blue Shield is a not-for-profit corporation with approximately 4,200 employees and more than 20 offices throughout California. Blue Shield of California is headquartered in San Francisco, California. According to Blue Shield of California, since 1939, when the company was founded, their priority has remained the same as it was more than 60 years ago: to listen to consumers and deliver the affordable, quality health coverage products that empower them to make intelligent decisions for themselves and their families.

Individual Blue Shield Health Insurance

If you are considering individual health insurance in California, Blue Shield may be a good choice. As you can see from their membership above, they offer both HMO and PPO plans. It has an extensive network of HMO and PPO doctors and hospitals. As always, check to make sure that the doctors and hospitals that you want to use are in the provider network.

Currently, the only individual HMO health plan that Blue Shield offers has a $1,500 deductible for facility charges in the hospital. The HMO also has “Access plus” which allows patients to self-refer to certain specialists within a medical group without receiving an authorization from their primary care doctor. This means that if you have a rash, you can go to a dermatologist in your medical group without visiting your primary care doctor. You pay a higher copay, but you can receive care more easily with Access Plus.

Blue Shield offers many PPO plans and they have a very large network of PPO doctors. Their Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible PPO plans are very competitively priced. Congress established "Health Savings Accounts (HSA)" effective January 1, 2004. You may find that with an HSA compatible PPO plan you can pay a low monthly premium and obtain good medical care after you pay a high deductible. More information on California Health Savings Accounts.

One of Blue Shield of California's most popular individual PPO plans is the Active Choice 600. This plan gives members a credit of $600 per calendar year ($1,200 family) to use for most medical treatments, except for prescription medicine and preventive care. Generic prescription medicine and preventive care are available with small co-payments. A subscriber can use the $600 for medical treatment in and out of the hospital. After the $600 ($1,200 family) is spent, the member would be responsible for the next $3,500 per calendar year in medical expenses ($7,000 family.) Blue Shield generally would pay all expenses after the $3,500 or $7,000 family co-payment. According to the insurance companies, 60-70% of people do not spend more than $600 per year on medical expenses. Accordingly, the $600 ($1,200 family) credit would cover these expenses. Also, any unused credit can be carried over to following years. This plan is popular because of the low monthly premium and the first dollar coverage it offers before the co-payment.