Blue Cross Conversion

November 2001 / Abell Reports / Health and Human Services

Policy considerations arising from a sale of the Maryland Plan.

CareFirst is a holding company organized by the Maryland Blue Cross Blue Shield plan and is the owner of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans of Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Maryland. Over the past five years, CareFirst has been reconfiguring and repositioning itself in the region’s health insurance marketplace by acquiring neighboring Blue plans, restructuring its target markets, and gradually backing away from its traditional role as Maryland’s insurer of last resort.

For more than a year, it has been common knowledge in the political arena and the health insurance industry that CareFirst is actively interested in being acquired by a for-profit insurer. Because the disappearance of CareFirst would have significant effects on the health care marketplace in Maryland, it is inevitable that public debate will commence. This report was commissioned by The Abell Foundation to inform and support that debate. It is intended to point community inquiry to the issues and facts that should be widely discussed and carefully considered before any conversion of Maryland Blue Cross is sanctioned. This study raises many more questions than it settles.