Blue Cross/Blue Shield

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Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the name used by large health insurance companies that operate in one or several states. In some states it holds a virtual monopoly, while in other states it is part of an oligopoly.

In Alabama Blue Cross Blue Shield holds 80% of the market,[1] leaving patients with little competition and few other options. In other states, such as Michigan, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield company also holds overwhelming market share.

The current company was formed in 1982 as a merger of two separate firms: Blue Cross (founded in Dallas in 1929 by the former vice president of Baylor University's Dallas healthcare facilities; the plan was originally marketed to teachers) and Blue Shield (founded in the Pacific Northwest by lumber companies).