The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and Bupa has announced a strategic global partnership that will create the largest healthcare provider network in the world for international health insurance customers. The U.K.-headquartered international healthcare company Bupa, and the largest U.S.-based health insurance group the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) system, are teaming up to expand GeoBlue, the global health insurance product offered in the U.S. under the Blue Cross Blue Shield Brands.
The partnership includes Bupa's purchase of a 49 percent stake in Highway to Health, Inc. (HTH)*, which sells and administers the GeoBlue international health insurance products. BCBSA and a group of BCBS companies continue to own the remaining 51 percent.
Launching later this year, the partnership will create the largest global healthcare provider network, combining the BCBS network in the U.S., and GeoBlue's and Bupa's global networks, totaling more than 11,500 hospitals and approximately 750,000 medical professionals in more than 190 countries. Bupa and BCBS companies will also develop new insurance products offered through GeoBlue, which will be available to customers and employers for coverage in 2015.
"I'm delighted Bupa has joined forces with Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations - this is the biggest partnership the international health insurance market has ever seen," said Robert Lang, managing director of the Bupa Global Market Unit. "We know that people are becoming increasingly globally mobile - either to live, study or simply travel abroad for long periods of time - and travel insurance doesn't always provide the coverage they need or expect. We're responding by creating the biggest global provider network for people who require international health coverage, and other propositions will follow later this year."
"Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bupa are two of the most respected names in healthcare and we will work together to offer the best solution for individuals and organizations by providing access to healthcare around the world," said Scott P. Serota, CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. "We live in a global village, with millions of consumers going abroad for extended periods of business, leisure and study. Travelers around the world can now benefit from the security and stability that Blue Cross and Blue Shield members have long relied on."
"It's tremendous to have two global health heavyweights - Bupa and Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations - invest in us to develop and grow GeoBlue," said Angelo Masciantonio, co-founder and CEO of HTH. "Combining HTH's leading technologies with the strong Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bupa brands and the breadth of their provider networks creates a compelling, extremely competitive offering in the global health marketplace."