Why Blue Shield of CA Was #1 for Covered California in 2016

by John Hansen

During the 2016 Open Enrollment for Covered California, Blue Shield of California enrolled the largest amount of new clients into the exchange of any of the carriers in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Blue Shield took 28% of market share followed by Anthem Blue Cross at 25%, Kaiser Permanente at 24% and Health Net at 13%. Of the enrollments with the other eight carriers offered by Covered California, they only added up to 9% of the marketplace.

Blue Shield of California had the most enrollments, but why?

Top leaders in Blue Shield addressed this question and commented that it came down to three areas:

  • Network
  • Choice
  • Price

“Where we were competitive on network, choice and price, we tended to do well in those markets,” said Jeff Smith, Vice President of Individual and Family Plans for Blue Shield of California.

California Brokers Rave About the Blue Shield Network

In a room full of leading California brokers in May of 2016, the room seemed to be in agreement that usually Blue Shield of California was the leader when it came to Network. Blue Shield has maintained a large network and continued to build it. This has paid off for them in increased enrollment.

To make the argument that Blue Shield is most advantageous for agents and clients, they make several arguments. Blue Shield of California has argued strongly that its PPO’s give clients the choice that they need in order to manage their health care effectively. In the face of strong competition from Kaiser Permanente on quality and price, Blue Shield has emphasized choice while fighting to stay competitive on quality and price.



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Covered California is the Golden State’s official health exchange marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can find high-quality, low-cost California government health insurance.

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