Last week, I was delighted to join the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan CEOs in Chicago. It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with these key leaders who together have the largest and most extensive health insurance network in the U.S. Through our partnership, our customers have access to the largest International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) network in the world.
To give a sense of scale, Blue Cross Blue Shield provides healthcare coverage to over 107 million members in the U.S. Over 96% of hospitals and 95% of doctors and specialists in the U.S. contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, which is more than any other nationwide insurer.
In 2014, we were pleased to agree a strategic partnership between Bupa and the Blue Cross Blue Shield organisation. The anchor of our partnership is our joint venture GeoBlue: a leader and innovator in international healthcare. Bupa acquired a 49% stake in GeoBlue in 2014, which gives our customers access to the largest IPMI network in the world. Led by Sheldon Kenton, President and CEO, GeoBlue combines exceptional service and mobile technology to ensure members have access to trusted doctors and hospitals all around the globe.
Our combined global footprint allows early sight of trends and developments that shape the International Private Medical Insurance operating environment both now, and into the future. The extent and impact of these trends vary across markets, though we know demand for healthcare, ageing populations and lifestyle-related diseases are all on the rise. We also see continued developments in medical technology and clinical practice, changing social attitudes and increased importance around transparency, information security and data privacy.
Blue Cross Blue Shield has unrivalled insight into the U.S. market, while our view of consumer and market trends globally is equally in-depth, along with expertise in healthcare management and experience of differing health care systems around the world. Whether it’s technologies, medical breakthroughs or changing consumer behaviour, our partnership allows us to stay relevant to our customers.
So, there are lots of opportunities! I am excited to see our partnership deepen, thereby continuing to fulfil our purpose of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.