Your Guide to Blue Cross Insurance

Are you looking for health insurance? Blue Cross insurance is one provider option that is widely available and, therefore, is likely to come up in your search. Learn more about where and how Blue Cross operates, including information on what kind of health insurance plans the company provides.

What is Blue Cross?

As a private health insurance provider, Blue Cross administers health plans to individuals, families and businesses in every state in the United States, the District of Columbia and territories like Puerto Rico. The vast majority of hospitals, doctors and specialists in these areas accept Blue Cross insurance, which makes it a common name in the health insurance industry. The name Blue Cross refers to the company’s logo, which typically includes the image of a cross similar to that used by the Red Cross, only in the color blue. Depending on the name of the specific Blue Cross company that provides your insurance, the cross may also be accompanied by a blue shield. This shield often includes the rod of Asclepius, a traditional symbol for health care providers.

Do Other Companies Use the Blue Cross Name?

Blue Cross is a shorter version of the name Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. This private health insurance organization comprises several individual companies that provide health insurance in smaller markets, such as a single state or territory. For this reason, you may see the Blue Cross Blue Shield name used in a variety of different ways. For example, the Blue Cross company that provides health insurance in Maryland is called CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield while the Blue Cross provider in Alabama is called Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.

How Can I Purchase a Blue Cross Plan?

You’ll need to find the Blue Cross organization that covers your area if you want to sign up for one of the company’s health insurance policies. Open enrollment periods may limit when you can apply, although certain exceptions, such as a recent move, marriage or coverage loss, may allow you to apply outside of the enrollment period.

What Kinds of Coverage Does Blue Cross Insurance Provide?

There are numerous types of Blue Cross insurance plans, including those for federal government employees, families and individuals. You can also find Blue Cross supplemental plans for Medicare, which is known as Medigap insurance. You can also look into Blue Cross travel insurance plans if you plan to travel internationally.

Finding the Right Health Insurance Company

Shopping for the right health insurance plan is a matter of finding the right type of coverage that’s within budget for you. Each insurance company is likely to offer something different, so it’s worth comparing Blue Cross to other providers in your area in addition to taking the time to compare different Blue Cross plans to each other. For example, a Blue Cross preferred provider organization (PPO) plan might not extend coverage to your longtime primary care physician, while a competing company does include your doctor in network.