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Why Obamacare’s been a boon for Blue Cross

Crains Chicago Health Care Daily reports:

“Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois estimates that it scooped up 92 percent of consumers who bought Obamacare health insurance plans in the state.

“We’re happy with the amount of people that have chosen us,” Lauren Perlstein, senior manager of public relations at Health Care Service Corp., the parent of Blue Cross plans in five states. “We’re committed to the state of Illinois, so we’ve been the plan to offer our services and coverage in every single part of this state. People know the Blue brand, and when they see the Blue brand, they’re apt to go with it.”

The results are no surprise, given that Blue Cross is the largest insurer in the state by far, with more than half the market.

Chicago-based Health Care Service estimates that 200,000 people bought Blue plans during the roughly six-month enrollment period that ended in mid-April. Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said a total of 217,492 people in Illinois bought plans on the exchange.

An additional 150,000 people enrolled in Blue Cross plans sold off the exchange, Ms. Perlstein said.

Related: More than 100,000 Illinoisans enroll in Obamacare in last-minute surge

Blue Cross’ enrollment figure for plans sold on the exchange includes people who have and have not yet paid the first month of their premiums, Ms. Perlstein said. Payments for plans effective today are due May 10.

Blue Cross and Land of Lincoln Health Inc. Co-op, a Chicago-based startup, are the only companies to offer plans on the exchange that cover the entire state.

“We decided to be all in for the exchanges,” Ms. Perlstein said.

Of the categories of Blue Cross plans offered on the exchange, the silver plan apparently was the most popular choice, attracting 44 percent of enrollees, followed by bronze (33 percent), gold (22 percent) and catastrophic (0.3 percent). Gold plans generally cover more of consumers’ medical expenses, while bronze and catastrophic plans cover the least.”

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