Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield

Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield is a nonprofit mutual insurance company that offers group and individual health insurance to about 377,800 members as of 2011. It is among the state’s largest private companies.

Its revenue has been climbing steadily since 2003 when it was $901.7 million. It crossed the $1 billion mark in premium collected in 2008. And it reported revenue of $1.27 billion for 2011, up nearly five percent from 2010.

Founded in 1948, ABCBS was a fairly small company until the 1960s and the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, which boosted its membership numbers as health insurance became standard.

The coming of managed care also spurred growth. In 1993, ABCBS partnered with Baptist Health to form the health maintenance organization known as Health Advantage.

In the '90s and early 2000s, ABCBS fought the Patient Protection Act of 1995, which requires the same terms as the incumbent in-network providers, all the way up to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. The legislation was upheld in 2005 and “any willing provider” went into effect.

ABCBS is bracing for further change should the U.S. Supreme Court uphold the “individual mandate,” the key provision of health care reform.

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