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Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Cambia Health Solutions, the parent of Regence Blues plans in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah, are joining forces to combine corporate and other back-end services under the Cambia name.

The big picture: Transactions among Blue Cross Blue Shield plans have been rare. But this deal is another version of health insurance companies teaming up to diversify outside of their traditional insurance business, lower administrative costs, and possibly increase bargaining power over hospitals and doctors.

Details: Cambia and BCBS of North Carolina are calling the deal an "affiliation," not a merger.

  • Both insurers will "maintain separate assets, capital and revenues" as well as their existing names, the companies said in a fact sheet. BCBS of North Carolina has about $10 billion in annual revenue, and Cambia has about $6 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The companies also will continue to handle their own contracts with hospitals and doctors.
  • Patrick Conway, the head of the North Carolina Blues and a former Medicare official, will be the CEO of the combined entity.

Flashback: In 2016, Cambia CEO Mark Ganz, who will be executive board chair of this new entity, told me health insurers couldn't rely on their old business models: "The health plan of today is going to be the health solutions company of tomorrow. It's going to be something different."

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

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Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.