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Keep up to date with our 90th anniversary celebration throughout the year by visiting our social media pages. Use #90YearsBCBSTX to join the conversation.

90th Anniversary

On Dec. 20, 1929, mere weeks after the Great Stock Market Crash and during one of the worst winters Texas had ever seen, Justin Ford Kimball began operating the Group Hospitalization Plan at Baylor University Hospital in Dallas. This type of plan eventually led to the idea of health insurance on which the national Blue Cross movement was founded.

In 2019, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) celebrates nine decades of contributing to public health.

As a customer-owned organization, we celebrate the members who make our health care coverage possible. From newborn babies to World War II veterans to Hurricane Harvey victims, BCBSTX members have been through it all, and it’s been our honor to walk alongside them. Our employees look forward to living our purpose – to do everything in our power to stand with our members in sickness and in health.

As health care evolves, we evolve with it. The past 90 years have been filled with monumental changes to America’s health care system including the launch of Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. Through it all, we have been a change agent working on behalf of our members. That’s how we launched the first patient centered medical home and became early adopters of accountable care organizations.

BCBSTX remains the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas. It is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 80,000 physicians and health care practitioners, and 500 hospitals to serve more than 5 million members in all 254 counties. We’ve been through a lot over the last 90 years, and that means we’re ready to continue expanding access to high-quality, affordable health care for the next 90 years. We’ve always been—and will continue to be—there for our members, Through It All.

We invite you to learn more about our story by exploring the videos below. A special hashtag, #90YearsBCBSTX, is available for employees, members and the community to share special moments on social media throughout the year.

Video transcript

Blue Cross and Blue Shield 90th Anniversary

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas - traces roots to world’s first hospital insurance at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. Plan Administrator Justin Ford Kimball would eventually be called the “father of Blue Cross.”
Viennese artist Joseph Binder is commissioned to paint poster with blue cross, which soon becomes unifying symbol among emerging Blue Cross Plans.
Blue Shield symbol is created - combining serpent with U.S. Army Medical Corps insignia. Texas Blue Cross Plan incorporates as Group Hospital Services.
The American Hospital Association officially recognizes Baylor Hospital as the birthplace of the national Blue Cross movement.
Inter-Plan Service Benefit Bank (forerunner of BlueCard®) is created to coordinate coverage for members hospitalized away from home.
Nearly 70% of population is insured up from less than 10% in 1940. Blue Cross has 1 million members in Texas.
Texas Plan buys its first computer to support its involvement in Old Age Assistance program, a precursor to Medicare.
The Medicare bill is signed into law creating Medicare and Medicaid programs, which would have been difficult without Blue Cross and Blue Shield framework.
Company wins bid to cover Texas state employees under a uniform program of life, accident and health insurance. Austin Claims Service Center established to serve this account.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association forms when the two separate associations merge.
Caring for Children Foundation establishes to serve the medical needs of uninsured children across the state.
BlueCard program launches enabling members traveling or living in another Plan’s service area to receive the same health care service benefits of their home Plan.
Health Care Service Corporation is created with the merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Texas and Illinois.
Company initiates outcomes-based reimbursement contracts with hospitals and physicians to improve the quality of care.
Worldwide medical coverage launches through GeoBlue Expat® for employees in U.S.-based companies working abroad.
Affordable Care Act implementation begins. New headquarters opens in Richardson.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative launches to improve health and wellness through community investments.
BCBSTX is only major insurer to fully participate on ACA’s retail exchanges in first year. Texas Plan launches first accountable care organization with Texas Health Resources.
Texas Medical Association and BCBSTX partner to form TMA PracticeEdge, a separate company helping independent physicians provide cost-effective patient care.
C1 Innovation Lab® opens to meet employers’ increasing needs.
1 million members are enrolled under value-based care arrangements. Affordability CuresSM launches a $1.5 billion endeavor to reduce costs and insure more Americans.
90 years and counting health care keeps evolving... and so will we.


Video transcript

I was born on April 2nd, 1922 at Galveston Texas. B O I, it stands for Born on the Island. And there were four children in our family, three girls and one boy. They are all gone but we still got the house in Galveston. In thirty-nine, I graduated from high school, Ursuline All-Girls School. We all wore uniforms, no nylons worn, we had cotton stockings. And I worked at Fort Crockett when I was single and that's when I signed up for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I worked at Fort Crockett until they closed Fort Crockett and then I went to work at a Marine Hospital in Galveston.

Once she decided to start a family, she left and she had unusual circumstances where she was able to keep her federal benefits until she actually went back to work for the FAA and then once she left FAA then she became the president over the NARFE chapter.

I had six children, so you know I used Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Miss Mabel is a character that I feel like I've known her all my life

…and I had six children, two girls and four boys. Of course, a deliverer of babies wasn’t easy, less than three hundred dollars, if it was natural.

I remember going to some of the NARFE conventions and her husband was always the life of the party.

Jim was raised in the French Quarters in New Orleans, born and raised there.
He was what they called Army Air Corps before the Air Force, there's a flag off of the casket. After my husband died on Father's Day, June 23rd, 2009. I end up in my house in Groves and I couldn't breathe….
(Sound of Ambulance then fades into background)
And they put me in an ambulance and sent me to Houston and they kept me there and did a lot of tests for about five days and so I went by ambulance from Hermon Houston to Dallas Medical.
They had to take and break open my breastbone and go out and get the aorta valve that would sometimes open or sometimes closed, to replace it and then they tie your breastbone back up and he said you know Mable, Miss Milliet, he said you only stand about a 35 percent chance of living. I said, “Have at it, go after it”, (chuckles) and I did.

The thing probably that endears me the most to her, is that each time we would end the conversation, she would always say “I love you”.

I've had good relations with BlueCross BlueShield….
And I am a life member.