August 12, 2020
Arkansas Blue Cross Carries on Through Pandemic

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The usually bustling corner of Sixth and Gaines streets in downtown Little Rock is quiet these days, but the business of health insurance in Arkansas is anything but. 
 

For Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which has called Gaines Street its corporate home for more than 60 years, the pandemic has meant business as usual even if virtually all of the company’s employees are working from home these days.
 

Blue Cross, of course, is synonymous with health insurance in Arkansas, having dominated the state market for decades. Through its USAble Mutual Insurance Co., Arkansas Blue Cross owned 25 percent of the life- and health-insurance market in the state in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Arkansas Insurance Department. Its 2018 premiums totaled $2.4 billion.
 

Like just about every other industry, health insurance awaits the post-pandemic “new normal.” And health insurance carriers have a unique perspective on how COVID-19 is impacting all facets of the health care industry.
 

Arkansas Money & Politics spoke with Arkansas Blue Cross CEO Curtis Barnett about challenges posed by the pandemic and what changes could be in store once that new normal arrives. Read more here.