Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina is a mutual insurance firm that offers health and other insurance services, Medicare contracts, and employee benefits services. Through almost 50 companies, it serves about a million members in the Palmetto State. Its BlueChoice HealthPlan is an HMO that offers managed care plans to some 205,000 members. Other group offerings include PPO plans (Preferred Blue) and a consumer-driven plan (Business Blue). For individuals, the firm provides Personal Blue plans, Medicare supplemental coverage, and Medicare Advantage PPO and private-fee-for-service plans.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina also has life and property/casualty insurance subsidiaries, as well as a government health programs division that offers a health program for the US Department of Defense. The company's government programs unit administers managed care contracts for Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE (for military families). Its operating companies include Palmetto GBA, which specializes in managing Medicare benefit plans, and PGBA, which handles TRICARE contracts.
Other subsidiaries, many of which operate throughout the US, include Companion Property & Casualty Group, a provider of commercial property/casualty insurance and claims management services, and Companion Life, which sells group life and disability policies. The TCC of South Carolina unit provides third-party administration services for health plans. The Companion Global Healthcare division, established in 2007, provides appointment and travel arrangement services to health plan members seeking care overseas, supporting the "medical tourism" trend of underinsured US residents seeking lower-cost care in other nations. The company's philanthropic BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation funds research, education, and services related to health care.
In 2011 Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina joined two other state health care organizations - Health Sciences South Carolina and the South Carolina Hospital Association - to form the South Carolina Partnership for Health with the goal of improving the experience of care and the health of populations and reducing per capita costs of health care. The new organization's first task in reforming state health care is to to reduce preventable hospital re-admissions, such as those related to pneumonia, heart failure, and heart attacks. After possible solutions are developed, they can be piloted and disseminated statewide if the results are successful.
The company has offices that serve multiple lines of business in Camden, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, and Surfside Beach, South Carolina, and in Augusta, Georgia; Dallas; and Columbus, Ohio.
To grow its business, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina provides an ever-widening array of health care plans, as it seeks to please individual and group members with a diverse range of needs. Like many insurers, the company is increasing its promotion of health education and disease management programs, in an industry-wide effort to increase preventative care and thus lower the cost of reactive medical care costs. It also regularly invests in its technology infrastructure to provide prompt data services to its providers and members alike. In fact, IBM has ranked its data center in the top 2.5% worldwide.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina's revenues in 2011 increased a percentage point to $2.1 billion, compared to $1.95 billion in 2010. Its net income dropped 37% to $60.7 million compared to $96.2 million in 2010. Its higher net income and margin in 2010 were reportedly due to a large tax credit.
The company traces its roots back to the 1946 formation of the not-for-profit South Carolina Hospital Service Plan, which later became Blue Cross of South Carolina. The Blue Shield organization entered South Carolina in 1949, and the two entities merged to form Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina in 1971. – less