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BC&BS to open bank for health care expenses


CHICAGO—The Blue Cross & Blue Shield Assn. has received approval from the U.S. Treasury's Office of Thrift Supervision to open a bank to provide health care-related banking services to members of consumer-directed health plans.

Blue Healthcare Bank, located in Sandy, Utah, is the second bank to be chartered by a health plan to provide seamless administration of health savings accounts that are used in conjunction with CDHPs.

Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group chartered Exante, which is based in Salt Lake City, in 2003. It currently has more than $300 million on deposit in more than 250,000 HSAs, a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., an independent licensee of the BCBS Assn., also is asking the state of Utah for permission to open a bank to handle processing of HSAs and other similar accounts related to health insurance coverage.