Anthem is joining forces with an existing alliance of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and State Farm that will let thousands of agents sell Anthem policies in 19 states across the country, potentially helping Blue Cross plans gain a competitive advantage both on and off state health insurance exchanges, reported Forbes.
Blue Cross plans in Michigan, South Carolina and Western New York are also participating in the State Farm partnership. The deal expands the original partnership, which was established last year between Health Care Service Corp.'s Blue Cross plans and State Farm, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.
"Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are committed to helping consumers understand their health insurance choices and help them navigate through what can sometimes be a challenging process," Jody Voss, vice president of strategic business services for BCBSA, said in a statement. "State Farm's presence in these states is broad and deep, with familiar and convenient community locations."
The partnership has already proven successful: HCSC said its Blue Cross plans have added more than 24,000 members in less than one year, 32 percent of whom were Latino and about 47 percent of whom were younger than 35 years old, an HCSC spokesman told Forbes.
Blue Cross execs said they hope the State Farm partnership helps them reach more remote areas than its existing sales forces can.
State Farm Senior Vice President Joe Monk said in the statement that selling exchange plans is a well-suited skill for its agents, who already help people manage risk. "Marketing individual medical coverage allows our agents to help people manage this key risk, so they can live confidently in pursuing their dreams," he said.