CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will launch BlueMarket, a private exchange for employer groups and their employees, on Jan. 1, 2015.

The Blue-branded marketplace is a new way for employers to offer health care coverage to their employees, allowing them to shop from a broader selection of coverage options and find a plan that fits their unique health care needs.

BlueMarket will be available to both fully-insured and self-funded groups of at least 151 employees. It can be structured as a traditional defined-benefit plan or as a defined-contribution plan, meaning an employer can provide a specific amount of money to their employees who can then shop for their own coverage. It also features a simpler enrollment process.

The BlueMarket launch comes on the heels of BlueCross’ strong performance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, which saw the company capture 88 percent of those who enrolled in Tennessee.

“BlueCross is committed to offering affordable health care coverage to all Tennesseans. We’ve seen very strong interest from employers in a defined benefit model and exchange platforms that offer more choice,” said Henry Smith, senior vice president of operations and chief marketing officer for BlueCross. “We recognize that employer-sponsored plans will continue to be the way most people get their coverage and we want to lead the private exchange marketplace for Tennessee.”

BlueMarket will offer seven medical plan options, which is more than are currently available to most group customers. The expanded choice, along with online decision support and education materials, will ensure BlueCross members are getting the plan that best fits their needs.

BlueMarket offers:

• An easy online shopping experience for employee benefits

• Expanded plan choices

• Increased transparency, showing employees how much employers contribute to benefits

• Valuable employee decision support tools

• Defined contribution funding and simplified administration with no additional cost

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.