In the Santa Barbara region (12) there are only two preferred provider organizations (PPO)  from which you can receive care under Obamacare. Before you buy insurance you should confirm that your doctor is a member of the PPO (accepting patients and payment from Covered California). Check the links below to see if your doctor and hospital is under the plan in which you are enrolling.

Blue Shield of California

Anthem Blue Cross

What is the difference between Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield?

In California, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are actually different companies and are competitors.  In most other states, they are the same company and formed an association, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  Anthem Blue Cross is a for profit company in California, and Blue Shield is a non-profit.  Both insurance companies have large networks and very good doctors.

In California, Anthem Blue Cross is the biggest health insurance carrier.  They have the most volume of health insurance applications and also have the most members.  Blue Shield is also a very large health insurance carrier in California.  They are right up there with Aetna and United Healthcare as far as volume and scale.  Being a non-profit organization, Blue Shield sometimes gives credits back to their members if they make a profit for the year.  This is obviously a very nice perk of being a member of Blue Shield in California.  This happens mostly on the small group side but it is not always consistent.

Both health insurance carriers have great medical plans, both on the individual side and for small businesses.  As of late, Blue Shield has taken a small hit to their network and has loss contracts with some important medical groups.  Anthem Blue Cross continues to have a strong network for their members.  Many that apply for individual health insurance ask about the Anthem Blue Cross network and the plans that they offer.  Both carriers are solid though and it is important for you to do the right research before you choose your health insurance plan.