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Blue Shield Finalizes Care1st Acquisition, Enters Medi-Cal

BY TOM McCAFFERY – We’re excited to have completed the acquisition of Care1st, a Los-Angeles based Medicaid and Medicare managed health plan.

Acquiring Care1st marks our first entry into Medi-Cal, a population that Blue Shield has been actively seeking the opportunity to serve.

Since new eligibility rules were introduced under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Medi-Cal population expanded beyond what many predicted. Now, more than 12 million Californians – or 1 in 3 – receive their health insurance coverage through Medi-Cal, making it the largest version of the nation’s Medicaid program, according to California Department of Health Care Services. In order to fulfill our mission to ensure that all Californians have access to high-quality and affordable care, it was clear that we needed to begin providing access to care for this underserved population.

As a not-for-profit, mission-driven health plan, serving Medi-Cal members is an ideal fit for Blue Shield. Many Medi-Cal members are in poverty, disabled or face severe mental and physical health challenges.

Even with Medi-Cal coverage, issues with access to care remain. For example, some patients turn to the emergency room for minor medical care even when they have the option of seeing a regular physician. Some have little choice but to go to emergency room if they cannot afford to take a day off of work to see the doctor. To best serve these members, we’ll invest in resources and capabilities to meet their unique needs and work closely with the providers who have traditionally served this growing population.

This move will help us further our mission to ensure that all Californian’s have access to quality and affordable care, and keeps Care1st jobs and revenue in California.

Please read our FAQs for more information regarding Blue Shield of California’s acquisition of Care1st.

Tom McCaffery is vice president of California state partnerships at Blue Shield of California.