Little girl holding food at a soup kitchen.
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Blue Cross volunteers pose for a picture in Burton Elementary's media center.
Group of people taking a selfie after a workout in the park.
Male African-American patient shaking hands with his doctor.
Image of a medical professional holding an elderly man's hands.
Image of doctor using stethoscope on teddy bear being held by toddler in his mother's lap.
Image of Carla Smith holding her son, Sir
Image of a pediatrician injecting young girl.
image of female college student holding books
Children playing at the CHC.
Moms and their kids pose for a picture at the Children's Healing Center
Group portrait of confident male and female computer programmers standing together in office.
Adult daughter talking to her dad.
A group of adults attending an outdoor yoga class meditates. The participants are seated on grass. The focus is on an ethnic senior woman.
Amanda Winn plays with kids at the CHC
Kids holding weights.
Four cyclists ride along the TART Trail.
Teens hanging out at the CHC.
Participants from the 2017 Turkey Trot.
Group of people taking a selfie after a workout in the park.
a team of diverse hands makes a star formation
Older woman enjoying the snow.
Image of a man being helped by his doctor.
Adult daughter talking to her dad.
nurse in pink scrubs
An older adult with her caregiver.
Enthusiastic runners running at charity run in park.
Image of Sally Miller
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Blue Cross volunteers pose for a picture in Burton Elementary's media center.
Moms and their kids pose for a picture at the Children's Healing Center
A group of adults attending an outdoor yoga class meditates. The participants are seated on grass. The focus is on an ethnic senior woman.
Adult daughter talking to her dad.
employees
Four cyclists ride along the TART Trail.
Celebrating STEM Education with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
PCMH Physician talking wit patient.
Moms and their small children pose for the camera.
80 Years Logo

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Celebrates 80 Years

80 Years Logo

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Celebrates 80 Years

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A history of commitment to improving health in Michigan communities

In 2019, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will celebrate its 80th anniversary. That’s 80 years of increasing access to affordable health care, enhancing patient care and improving the health of Michigan’s citizens and communities. But we didn’t get here on our own. Throughout the year, we’re expressing gratitude and thankfulness for the people and places that have shaped who we are.

SEE OUR HISTORICAL TIMELINE

A message from President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp

 

A history of partnership

Although a lot has changed over 80 years, one constant is the valuable partnerships we’ve forged throughout that time.

Making Michigan healthier is work made lighter through the many hands undertaking on-the-ground efforts in places where people live and work. We’re grateful for the many organizations and people we partner with throughout the state that help us do that.

Here are some of their stories.

Protecting Michiganders' Heart Health

Michigan volunteers and staff of the American Heart Association are devoted to fighting heart disease and do so in a variety of ways across the state. Find out how the AHA works to protect all of our hearts.

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Improving End-of-Life Care

For almost 20 years, end-of-life care providers have journeyed to the wilds of the U.P. for the Janus Project, an innovative approach to improving the experience for patients and caregivers. Initial funding from the BCBSM Foundation helped the Cedar Tree Institute, one of the partners we’re recognizing this year, get it started.

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Keeping Patients Safe

We’re proud supporters of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s 100th anniversary celebrations. We’ve also partnered with the MHA on patient safety initiatives through their Keystone Center Patient Safety Organization, which has advanced the health and overall well-being of Michigan communities.

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Caring for the Needs of Cancer Patients

LaughFest attracts nationally-renowned comedians to Grand Rapids and funds raised during the event help Gilda’s Club carry on its mission of providing emotional support to those in Michigan touched by cancer. We’ve been a proud supporter of LaughFest over the years.

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Additional Partners

Historical Timeline

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1939

During the 1930s, hospitals went bankrupt and two of every three doctor bills went unpaid. The time was right for a new idea: prepaid health care. The Michigan Society for Group Hospitalization, a forerunner of Blue Cross, signs its first subscriber.

Woman in front of a Michigan Medical Service sign

1940s

The Michigan Medical Service, a forerunner of Blue Shield, starts up with a $10,000 loan from the Michigan State Medical Society. The Michigan Society for Group Hospitalization changes its name to Michigan Hospital Service and starts using the Blue Cross symbol.

Blue Cross display at a fair.

1950s

Individual health plans are marketed for the first time, while Michigan Blue Cross and Michigan Blue Shield develop and market health plans for individual senior citizens who are not eligible for group coverage.

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1960s

As medical care improves and health care costs rise, many can’t afford health care. To address this problem, Medicare and Medicaid are enacted, and the government selects Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to administer the program.

Blue Cross tower in the 70s

1970s

In 1975, Michigan Blue Cross and Michigan Blue Shield consolidate into a single corporation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, with customers and subscribers increasing their majority control of the new board of directors to 59 percent.

Old cigarette vending machine

1980s

Blue Cross offers hospitals a new reimbursement contract that replaces the fixed-payment per-case system with a cost-based, global payment system. Eventually, all community hospitals in the state agree to participate.

Steketee's building in Grand Rapids

1990s

New regional service centers open in downtown Grand Rapids, Marquette and Portage. The Bricktown Customer Service Plaza building opens in downtown Detroit adjacent to the Blues’ existing downtown 21-story office tower.

Ernie Harwell

2000s

Blue Cross launches a new statewide physical activity program called WalkingWorks, led by Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, an avid walker. Daniel J. Loepp is selected by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Board of Directors to become CEO in 2005, a role he still holds today.

Dan Loepp celebrating BCBSM's return to Detroit

2010s

The Michigan Legislature passes bills allowing the Board of Directors to transition the company to a tax-paying, nonprofit mutual insurer. Blue Cross begins operating as a nonprofit mutual insurance company and holds its first member meeting in 2014.