BlueCard® Program


BlueCard is a national program that enables members of one Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Plan to obtain health care services while traveling or living in another BCBS Plan’s service area. BlueCard links participating health care providers with the independent BCBS Plans across the country, and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, through a single electronic network for claims processing and reimbursement.

  • The program allows you to submit claims for members from other BCBS Plans to the Illinois Plan.
  • BCBSIL is your sole contact for claims payment, problem resolution and adjustments.

Covered Services Under BlueCard

  • All inpatient, outpatient and professional services

Services Not Covered Under BlueCard

  • Prescription Drugs
  • Hearing/Vision
  • Dental (non-surgical)
  • Federal Employee Program (FEP)

1. Identify BlueCard Members - The main identifiers are:

  • PPO in a suitcase logo, for eligible PPO members
  • Empty suitcase logo, for Traditional, POS or HMO members
  • An alpha prefix (the first three positions of the identification number) 
  • The alpha prefix correctly routes BlueCard claims for processing

Alpha Prefixes are assigned to every BCBS Plan and start with X, Y, Z, or Q:

  • First Character – X, Y, Z or Q
  • Second character – A-Z
  • Third character – A-Z

National Account Alpha Prefixes:

  • Begin with letters other than X,Y, Z or Q
  • Typically relate to the name of the group, as in UAL for United Airlines.

2. Verify Eligibility and Benefits

Telephone: Call Blue Card Eligibility (800) 676-BLUE (2583).  Enter only the alpha prefix on the member’s ID number and your call will be routed to the member’s home plan.


Electronic: Receive real-time responses to your eligibility requests through your preferred vendor portal: Availity®,  NDAS Online (eCare®)  or RealMed®. 


3. Obtain Pre-certification for BlueCard Members, when applicable


Telephone: Call BlueCard Eligibility (800) 676-2583 and ask to be transferred to the Medical Management Department.


Electronic: Submit an authorization transaction through Availity, NDAS Online (eCare)  or RealMed. 


4. Submit all BlueCard claims electronically to the Illinois Plan, for faster service.


Availity is a registered trademark of Availity, L.L.C.

eCare is the registered trademark of Nebo Systems.

RealMed is a registered trademark of RealMed Corporation.

Availity, L.L.C., Nebo Systems and RealMed Corporation are independent contractors and are solely responsible for their products and services.