Health Care Services Corp. bid for Blue Cross Blue Shield unveiled | CraigDailyPress.com

Health Care Services Corp. bid for Blue Cross Blue Shield unveiled

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Denver — Health Care Services Corp. has offered to buy the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado for $165 million, officials said. — Health Care Services Corp. has offered to buy the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado for $165 million, officials said.

— Health Care Services Corp. has offered to buy the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado for $165 million, officials said.

The bid by Chicago-based Health Care Services, which owns Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, matches a bid by the Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc.

The new bidder was unveiled Monday, less than three weeks before the state Division of Insurance is scheduled to begin hearings on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado’s request to sell itself to Anthem.

The Colorado company, which made Health Care Service’s offer public Monday, knew about the competing bid but was not sure how to evaluate it, said Blues spokesman Neil Westergaard.

Any Blue Cross buyer is required by state law to fund a charitable health care foundation in return for years of tax breaks provided to Blue Cross of Colorado.

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Anthem has pledged that at least $140 million of its purchase price will go toward setting up a charitable health care foundation, but it is unclear how Health Care Services will address the foundation issue.

”We can’t determine from the information we have now what will go to the foundation,” said Westergaard, adding that Blue Cross officials are, however, taking the offer seriously.

Health Care Services spokesman Bob Kieckhefer said he was not sure whether the offer included a charity guarantee. ”It’s a fairly complex situation out there,” he said.

Health Care Services has 5.2 million members between Blue Cross of Illinois and Blue Cross of Texas. The two Blues plans generated combined revenue of $1.14 billion and profit of $49.7 million last year.

Insurance Commission spokeswoman Nancy Ryan said the Blues-Anthem hearing will go ahead as scheduled.