The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is an American group of 39 individual, society located and locally managed Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance companies, in full covering over 100 million Americans.
The early days of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans featured the birth of prepaid health care coverage in America. Initially, Blue Cross Plans were created to pay for the cost of hospital care while Blue Shield Plans were started to cover doctors’ services. Today, in the majority of states, plans have united to offer the full range of health coverage in single group form.
The Blue Cross perception was initiated in 1929 by a revolutionary entrepreneur, Justin Ford Kimball, because of the Great Depression. By presenting small monthly fees to the Baylor University Hospital, he proposed a way for 1,300 school teachers in Dallas to fund 21 days of hospital care.
The Blue Shield perception was on the rise out of the mining and lumber sites of the Pacific Northwest. Chronic ill health and severe injuries were widespread among workers in these dangerous professions. Employers who chose to supply medical care for their workers made agreements with doctors who were paid a monthly payment for their assistance. These new programs made available the foundation for what would become the “modern” Blue Shield Plans.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield healthcare insurance perceptions took a grip and progressed into recognizable products across America. Once the Blue Cross and Blue Shield associations combined, their product symbols combined to develop into one of the most familiar products in the country.
E. A. van Steenwyk, executive secretary with the predecessor to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, branded his hospital care plan with a solid blue Greek cross design, in 1934. The symbol began to turn up in additional parts of the country and shortly, as one historian has written, the Blue Cross “perpetuated itself as a unifying force” among the recently rising Plans.
The Blue Shield symbol was developed in Buffalo, New York. Carl Metzger, an early pioneer in the Blue movement, sought after a design that would differentiate the new medical service program. He moreover required that there was an understandable link to the companion hospital program. It shortly thrived amid the rising number of Blue Shield Plans.
Enrollment in Blue groups grew from more than 1,000 to 1929 to 3 million to 1939. Blue groups protected more than 94 million Americans by 2006. The Plans have built public and private partnerships incomparable in supplying coverage for America.
These days, the Blue System is showing the way in making certain that affordability and coverage through research, ground-breaking product design, education and customer engagement.