News Release

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to open ArkansasBlue health insurance store in Pine Bluff


Max Greenwood @ 501-378-2131

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 17, 2013) — Residents of Pine Bluff and southeast Arkansas soon will be able to speak face to face with health insurance experts who can advise them about affordable health plans and more at the new ArkansasBlue office scheduled to open in June at 509 Mallard Loop Drive in Pine Bluff.

Health insurance experts at the new location will provide Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield members and insurance shoppers with information about Arkansas Blue Cross insurance plans, advice on which plan best covers them and fits their budget, as well as assistance with questions or concerns they may have about purchasing or choosing health insurance. ArkansasBlue also will provide visitors with information on dental and other insurance plans.

And, with the full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) approaching in 2014, visitors who have purchased individual or family health insurance plans will be able to come in later this summer for a health insurance review to see how new regulations will impact their health insurance coverage and cost.

“Arkansas Blue Cross has operated a full-service regional office in Pine Bluff since 1994, serving members in a 13-county area with customer service, individual and group product sales and marketing, medical management and provider services,” said Dwayne Pierce, regional executive. “Our new location will allow us to expand our services and provide more one-on-one counseling about health and dental insurance for individuals and families, especially with the new health insurance law approaching.”

In addition to, or in lieu of, one-on-one discussions, walk-in members and shoppers will have an opportunity to pick up informational brochures or digitally walk through an online shopping experience in the new ArkansasBlue retail store.

“The move to retail marketing is a new and different approach for Arkansas Blue Cross,” said Karen Raley, vice president of Communications and Product Development, “but we always have been a frontrunner when it comes to adapting to a changing marketplace. We opened Arkansas’ first health insurance store in 2011 to help Arkansans better understand health insurance products and how they work.”

“We often say that health insurance is complex, with a language all its own,” said Raley. “And with the changes being implemented under the new health care law, it’s more complicated than ever to know who to trust and where to go when you have questions and need straight answers. We want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for people to do business with us. We have heard from customers who said they would like to have another option for talking to someone face-to-face, and we listened.”

Beginning this fall, millions of people will be buying insurance through online health insurance marketplaces (exchanges).

“Arkansas Blue Cross wants to help people understand this complex process before they have to buy, so they can make good choices, and sometimes people learn better in person,” Pierce said. “Our new Pine Bluff location will make that option available to Arkansans in the southeastern part of the state.”

“Residents and businesses in southeast Arkansas have been an important part of our 65-year history and enhance the culture of our state through their hard work and core values,” said Mark White, Arkansas Blue Cross president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to providing even more expanded services for individuals and families in this area of Arkansas through ArkansasBlue.”

More information will be forthcoming regarding office hours and grand-opening ceremonies. Arkansas Blue Cross’ operations currently located at 1800 W. 73rd Street will close at the end of May and reopen at the new ArkansasBlue location.

Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,500 employees. If combined, the 38 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans collectively provide health care coverage for 100 million Americans.

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