Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Kansas City Launches Kansas City’s First Exchange Marketplace
Private Blue KC Exchange offers choice and affordability to employers and employees
November 16, 2011
Kansas City – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City today announced it has launched the area’s first private insurance Exchange marketplace, specifically designed to help small businesses manage their healthcare costs. The Blue KC Exchange increases choice and affordability in health plans for employers and employees of small businesses. The Exchange is also available for individuals with Direct Pay health plans.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s private Blue KC Exchange is expected to be similar to what the government’s Exchanges will be like when they launch in 2014 – only less complicated. It offers the ease and convenience of an online shopping experience, with the enhanced ability to compare rates of up to 10 different health plans available through the Exchange. The Blue KC Exchange is available online now at www.BlueKCexchange.com.
“By offering the Blue KC Exchange to small business employers now, we are bringing cost control and convenience to these businesses two years in advance of what the government may bring in 2014. In addition, they can be confident that they’ll be working with a company they already know and trust – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City,” said Danette Wilson, Group Executive, External Operations Group at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.
The Blue KC Exchange is built upon a relatively new model of administering benefit plans for employees – a defined-contribution model – and allows an employer to set the amount it is willing to pay for each employee’s health benefits, while still offering greater choice in plans to the employees. According to the 2011 Chief Human Resource Officer Survey, conducted by the HR Policy Association, 36 percent of human resources officers in top companies plan to give “serious consideration” to moving to a defined-contribution strategy within the next 10 years.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City has offered a defined-contribution product, Blue Choice, to Kansas City small businesses since 2009. With the move to the Blue KC Exchange, the number of health plans offered to consumers has increased substantially, providing even more health plan options to small business employees and individuals.
Blue KC’s new Exchange further strengthens the company’s relationship with its brokers, confirming that brokers play a major role in the Exchange moving forward.
“Another bold move in the right direction from Blue KC,” explains Matt Krull, Benefits Consultant, with CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Services. “The Blue KC Exchange is an innovative new way for employers to purchase health insurance. We are glad to see Blue KC bring this solution to businesses in this market. The initial reception from my clients has been very positive.”
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is once again leading the market when it comes to bringing innovative products and programs to the Kansas City region,” said Duncan McInnes, with the McInnes Group, an employee benefits consulting firm. “My team vetted this defined contribution approach, along with the multiple plan design platform, with several of our clients as part of a pre-launch discovery process, and we found that virtually 100 percent of them endorsed the Blue KC Exchange.”
The company hopes to make the Blue KC Exchange available to other customer segments later in 2012.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the state and the only not-for-profit health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to nearly one million residents in the greater Kansas City area and Northwest Missouri. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on our company, visit our website at www.BlueKC.com. Our mission statement: We will use our role as the area’s leading health insurer to provide affordable access to healthcare and to improve the health and wellness of our members.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.