CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, known popularly as CareFirst is an organization that comprises two companies, namely, the Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc. and the CareFirst of Maryland Inc. Both these companies have the same owner- CareFirst Inc. Like WellPoint CareFirst also acts as an independent licensee to the Blue Cross and Blue shield Association. It mainly operates in the Mid Atlantic area covering Maryland, Delaware, Columbia and certain parts of northern Virginia. In fact it is the largest insurance in the area that competitors can reckon with. Takers for CareFirst plans are also many considering that the organization is currently acting as a provider for over 3.2 million people.
The history of CareFirst Inc. as a whole dates back to as early as 1934 when a certain Washington hospital association took charge to establish the Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc. In some more years time this company diversified and branched out into areas spreading over Delaware and Maryland. And it was in 1942 that the Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc. collaborated with Blue Cross. The very next year it also went on to establish a union with Blue Shield.
As the largest insurance provider in the Mid- Atlantic states, CareFirst Inc. has a record 80% health providers subscribing to one or more of its networks. Equally compelling is the provider network of CareFirst Inc. that consists of 165 hospitals in the region covering Maryland, Delaware and northern Virginia. It has more than 3.2 million people depending on its services, among whom more than 500, 000 people work for the Federal Government.
Apart from the CareFirst of Maryland Inc. and the Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc., CareFirst Inc. also has another organization within its folds- the CareFirst BlueChoice Inc. This is the only constituent body of CareFirst Inc. that is not non- profit in nature. CareFirst Blue Choice is essentially a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) that also operates within the folds of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. As an independent member under the BCBSA, Blue Choice is of prime importance considering the fact that more than 3,500 physicians dealing in primary care are attached to it.
CareFirst Inc. provides a number of plans ranging from individual insurance to group health insurance. It also has plans tailor- made for the self employed population of the Mid- Atlantic area. Under each plan category, a number of vital options are included. One could choose from strictly medical options, vision or dental care plans and plans relating to prescription drugs. In recent times, CareFirst Inc. has gained greater popularity through a change in its motto- It now strives to create better, comprehensive health coverage choices even for the uninsured, raising the quality of services as they proceed.