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If Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin converts to a for-profit insurance company, it will be one of few Blues plans nationally to do so.
Only four Blues plans have succeeded in converting their entire organization to for-profit companies since 1994, when the Blue Cross association agreed to allow such conversions. Only two are publicly traded. There are 51 Blues plans in the United States.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin said June 3 it would be the next Blues plan to attempt to convert to a stockholder-owned corporation from a service insurance corporation. The state's largest health insurance company also said it may merge with United Wisconsin Services Inc., the Milwaukee-based managed care company. Blue Cross owns 38 percent of United Wisconsin's stock.
The rapid consolidation of Blues plans over the past year triggered the timing of the insurer's decision, said Thomas Hefty, president, chief executive and chairman of Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin.
"The timing is important because if we do not participate as an acquirer in that consolidation, in …