February 04, 2008

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Earns 11th Consecutive "A" Rating from Standard & Poor's

State's oldest and largest health insurer recognized for customer service and community support

National rating service Standard & Poor's has given Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana its 11th consecutive "A" rating for financial strength, citing the company's strong competitive position in the Louisiana health insurance market, strong earnings profile and very strong capitalization and recognizing its broad provider networks, good customer service and commitment to the Louisiana market.

"We are pleased to be recognized for all we offer our current and future customers: our service, our financial strength and stability, our outstanding provider networks and our wide range of solutions for affordable, high-quality health insurance," said President and Chief Executive Officer Gery J. Barry.

Standard & Poor's is the world's foremost provider of benchmarks for measuring corporate financial health. Its latest report on Blue Cross states, "Compared with its key competitors, BCBSLA's competitive advantages include the strength of its Blue brand, its having the broadest contractual access to provider networks in the state, and its good customer service."

Standard & Poor's also recognizes the company's commitment to its customers. "[BCBSLA's] strategy is to be the leading health insurer in Louisiana and an active community partner," the report states. "Because the company is organized as a not-for-profit entity, its strategies are not driven by public shareholder pressures; rather, the company's emphasis is on long-term financial stability and a commitment to the Louisiana market."

One of the other major factors cited by Standard & Poor's report is the company's strong competitive position. "As the largest plan in the state, BCBSLA covers more than 1.1 million medical members (as of June 30, 2007), which is roughly 50% of the insured population," the report states.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is Louisiana-owned and -operated. Marking its 74th anniversary this year, the company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It is a tax-paying mutual company, owned by its policyholders. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also has district offices in Alexandria, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport. The company's subsidiaries include HMO Louisiana, Inc. and Southern National Life Insurance Company, Inc.