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World's largest healthcare network set

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Bupa are forming a strategic global partnership that will create the largest healthcare provider network in the world for international health insurance customers.

UK-headquartered international healthcare company Bupa and the largest US-based health insurance group Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) system are teaming up to expand GeoBlue, the global health insurance product offered in the US under the Blue Cross Blue Shield brands.

The partnership includes Bupa's purchase of a 49-per-cent stake in Highway to Health, Inc (HTH), which sells and administers the GeoBlue international health insurance products. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and a group of BCBS companies continue to own the remaining 51 per cent.

Launching later this year, the partnership will combine the BCBS network in the US and GeoBlue's and Bupa's global networks, totalling more than 11,500 hospitals and 750,000 medical professionals in more than 190 countries.

Bupa and BCBS companies will also develop insurance products offered through GeoBlue, which will be available to customers and employers for coverage next year.

"I'm delighted Bupa has joined forces with Blue Cross and Blue Shield organisations. This is the biggest partnership the international health insurance market has ever seen," Robert Lang, managing director of the Bupa Global Market Unit, said last week.

"We know that people are becoming increasingly globally mobile - either to live, study or simply travel abroad for long periods of time - and travel insurance doesn't always provide the coverage they need or expect.

"We're responding by creating the biggest global provider network for people who require international health coverage, and other propositions will follow later this year."

"It's tremendous to have two global health heavyweights - Bupa and Blue Cross and Blue Shield organisations - invest in us to develop and grow GeoBlue," said Angelo Masciantonio, co-founder and CEO of HTH.

"Combining HTH's leading technologies with the strong Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bupa brands and the breadth of their provider networks creates a compelling, extremely competitive offering in the global health marketplace."


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