Blue Cross NC to partner with Oregon insurer

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham. N.C.

Update: This story reflects a correction that eliminates the term “merger”, which appeared in our print edition on Wednesday. According to BCBS NC officials, “Each company retains its current assets, such as its reserves and capital, and there is no change to the underlying business in our states. The companies will continue to contract directly with providers and customers in their respective states, as they do today.” 

DURHAM – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Cambia Health Solutions, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, announced Tuesday a “strategic affiliation” between the two not-for-profit companies. According to a press release, the goal of the affiliation is “to improve quality, lower costs, and deliver an exceptional experience for consumers.” The companies will share a common management team, including key corporate management, as well as administrative, operational and other corporate services under Cambia Health Solutions.

“We have to do something different to make health care better, simpler, and more affordable for the people we serve,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “By sharing resources, innovations, and best-in-class services we can fundamentally transform the way individuals and families experience the health care system.”

“People and their families are hurting every day in the current health care system, longing for care focused on their needs,” said Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions. “Together, we have the power to accelerate transformation, be a model for what is possible, and positively impact the lives of those we serve.”

Blue Cross NC and Cambia’s health plans, which include Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield in Washington, Regence BlueShield of Idaho, and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, will continue to be subject to all state regulations and requirements in their respective states, including rate review, to ensure consumer protection. The deal would mean that together, the new entity would cover around six million people.

Cambia’s Board of Directors will be made up of 10 members from Blue Cross NC’s current Board of Trustees and nine members from Cambia’s current Board of Directors. Blue Cross NC will retain its own separate Board of Trustees and name. Blue Cross NC and Cambia will retain their separate, tax-paying, not-for-profit corporate structures.