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Blues to start private exchange for retirees

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The Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies will be competing with the big brokers to serve employers that are shutting down the remaining group retiree health plans.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the Blues’ trade group, said it has hired Connecture Inc. (Nasdaq:CNXR) to help members set up a BCBS Marketplace that will sell individual Medicare coverage to retirees starting this summer.

If all goes according to plan, the exchange program will include both a Web-based enrollment system and support from call centers. 

The first coverage sold will take effect Jan. 1, 2016. 

The Blues’ exchange will sell Medicare supplement insurance, Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in at least 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The exchange also will sell the Blues’ vision, dental and life products.

Employers that use the new exchange can put their own logo on the section that their employees use, to show they are helping to ensure a smooth coverage transition, the association says.

The Blues’ association represents 37 different companies, including Anthem Inc. (NYSE:ANTM) and Health Care Service Corp.


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