ON DECEMBER 20, 1999, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, or, to be
specific, the health insurance notion that evolved into the plans, will be
70 years old. On that date in 1929, a coverage experiment was implemented
in Dallas, Tex. The experiment was conceived by Justin Ford Kimball, vice
president of Baylor University, Dallas. It was inspired in part by the efforts
of employers and workers to create prepaid health care coverage, which in
time led to the other major health insurance movement of this century, managed
care.1 Kimball developed a prepaid program
under which teachers in the Dallas area could, for a premium of $6 a year,
receive 21 days of inpatient care at Baylor University Hospital, Dallas, which
had been losing money and was struggling. By the time the program benefits
became effective, the plan had 1356 members.
Friedman E. What Price Survival?The Future of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. JAMA. 1998;279(23):1863–1869. doi:10.1001/jama.279.23.1863
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