Experts Mull Value of Blue Cross NC’s Urgent Care Purchase

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina plans to acquire all 55 North Carolina locations of FastMed, an urgent care provider in which it had a minority investment, according to an Oct. 20 press release. Experts tell AIS Health, a division of MMIT, that the deal is a smart move, as long as Blue Cross NC has a sound strategic approach to operating the clinics.

Insurers have acquired plenty of providers in recent years, but larger, publicly traded insurance companies have led that charge. The deal stands out for two clear reasons: First, Blue Cross NC is a regional carrier — albeit a large one, with 2.3 million covered lives, according to AIS’s Directory of Health Plans. Second, most payer acquisitions of providers have not targeted urgent care operations.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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