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75 years, one mission to serve

BlueCross 75 years

It’s our 75th anniversary this year. On Sept. 10, our founding date, I wanted to be standing in the courtyard of our Chattanooga headquarters, celebrating and sharing memories with employees. But we didn’t get to mark our big day together, in person.

We made the best of it, as we have been for the past six months — thanks in part to new digital tools that help us stay connected. On our mobile app for employees, GoBlue, hundreds of my colleagues commented on stories about our history and our mission

Some wrote about how they feel valued as not just staff members, but people. Others shared how much it means to them to help our members or volunteer in our communities. Having been with BlueCross since May 1995, these personal perspectives resonated. And I enjoyed getting a bit of a history lesson myself.

For example, when our company was formed in 1945, the National BlueCross Commission established a mission of:

  • enrolling people in a hospital prepay program with reasonable, affordable costs,
  • that offered access to hospital services and used resources responsibly.
The words are different, but you can hear the echoes of our mission today: peace of mind through better health. 

I learned that at the end of 1945, our plan covered 16,200 people and we were paying out around $1,000 a month for their care.

It’s stunning to compare those numbers to 2019, when we paid out $16 billion in claims on behalf of 3.5 million members. But then and now, one of the ways we add value is by negotiating the best possible prices for health care services. 

We also have a legacy of innovative partnerships and giving back.

The common thread in these efforts is the common good. I’m proud of our mission and the ways our people live it out each day.  

About Henry Smith, SVP, Ops & Chief Marketing Officer

A photo of the authorHenry oversees sales and account management, product development, group and member customer service, membership administration, claims administration, and commercial financial management.

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