An affiliation between the parent of Blues companies in four Pacific Northwest states and the operator of Blues plans in Illinois and Texas will create the nation's largest not-for-profit insurer. The Regence Group, as the new combined company will be called, will boast 10 million lives.
The deal is not a full-blown merger of assets, and no money will be exchanged. Under the affiliation, the new holding company will have a combined board, but individual Blues units will still operate under their local names. The deal is subject to regulatory approval in several states.
Officials say the move will bring the combined company administrative efficiencies it needs to compete. The same story has played out many times across the country, as larger Blues groups have gobbled up smaller independent affiliates having difficulty keeping up with commercial competitors.