“We’re not a typical nonprofit,” company spokesperson Sara Teachout said of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont. But that’s how the state classifies the locally incorporated insurance company that collects millions of dollars from Vermonters each month — mostly through payroll deductions — to protect them against health care calamity. Its CEO earns more than half a million dollars annually.
Each state-based Blue Cross Blue Shield is a distinct corporation, but together they cooperate in a nationwide network to allow traveling customers to transport their health care coverage from state to state. The U.S. Congress created a special tax designation for the company. While most nonprofits file their federal taxes as 501c organizations, Blue Cross Blue Shield is a 501m. It doesn’t have to file Internal Revenue Service Form 990s as do most 501 orgs, so it’s not in the Vermont Nonprofit Navigator database that Seven Days put together for its “Give and Take” series.