Blue Shield of California makes first foray into Medicaid market

December 11, 2014

Looking to capitalize on California’s decision to expand Medicaid, Blue Shield of California has purchased Care 1st of Monterey Park, which will add 473,000 Medicaid managed-care members to its rolls.

Looking to capitalize on California’s decision to expand Medicaid, Blue Shield of California has purchased Care 1st of Monterey Park. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid.

The transaction adds 473,000 Medicaid managed-care members, 46,000 Medicare members, and 5,300 dual eligible members to Blue Shield’s rolls, according to the company.  

"There are more than 11 million Californians in the Medi-Cal system today, and we can fulfill our not-for-profit access and affordability mission by serving this population," said Paul Markovich, president and chief executive officer of Blue Shield of California. "Acquiring Care1st - a growing, values-based company with deep Medicaid experience - is the ideal way for us to not only enter a new market, but also to help transform it together."

"We are excited to be joining with Blue Shield, as our members will greatly benefit from Blue Shield’s well-established brand and extensive knowledge of the California healthcare market," said Anna Tran, chief executive officer of Care1st Health Plan. "Together, we will have the resources to better serve the growing Medicaid and Medicare populations. Blue Shield and Care1st have similar mission-driven cultures with a strong commitment to our employees. We look forward to working together with the Blue Shield team in order to further the Affordable Care Act’s universal healthcare objectives."

Blue Shield of California is that state’s second largest non–profit insurer, while Care 1st is a for-profit venture.  Once the transaction is finalized in the second half of 2015, Blue Shield will bring Care 1st in line with its non-profit mission, the company said in a press release.