75 Years Of Covering America
(Find the links in the picture below for facts from the time period)
As early as the 1920s, rising medical costs made it difficult for
middle class families to pay for their own treatments. In a 1926 edition of the Saturday
Evening Post, one disaffected consumer described a "self-respecting" middle class "
too proud to accept free service" but still too poor to afford private care.
In light of these challenges and the financial woes of Baylor University, university
president Justin Ford Kimball created a solution that would lay the foundation for the
Blues system. In 1929, Kimball organized a "hospital service plan" in which members paid
50 cents per month, and in return each member would be allowed 21 days of hospital care
per year. Kimball's arrangement emulated existing agreements between doctors and
employers in dangerous fields, such as mining and construction, called "industrial
service bureaus." Doctors agreed to treat these employees in exchange for monthly fees.
Both types of agreements later became Blue plans beginning in the 1930s. In 1934, the
forerunner to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota adopted the blue cross as its symbol,
and soon after plans around the country did the same. By 1939 the blue shield would appear
in Buffalo, New York, giving health care its most recognizable symbols before the decade
of the 1940s.
|The prototype prepaid hospital plan upon which Blue Cross plans were later based is created at Baylor University in Dallas, Texas.
||Membership in pre-paid hospital plans grows to 3 million in just a decade. Blue shield first used by Carl Metzger in Buffalo, New York..
||American Hospital Association forms Committee on Hospital Services "for the study and development of hospital insurance and the related problems of health service finance," which became the forerunner for what became a unified group of Blue Cross plans.