HSCS can trace its roots back to 1929, when Justin Ford Kimball, a vice president at the Baylor University School of Medicine in Texas created the first hospital care prepayment plan.
In 1936, a group of civic leaders and doctors launched the Chicago Plan for Hospital Care. The company’s first health insurance policy became effective on January 21, 1937. The company, which was named Hospital Service Corporation, grew rapidly, enrolling 36,000 members in just the first six months of operations.
The company adopted the Blue Cross symbol in 1939 and the Blue Shield symbol in 1947.The Blue Cross Plan for hospital services and the Blue Shield Plan for physician services operated separately until 1975 and were then merged together into the Health Care Service Corporation.
In 1982, all the smaller Blue Cross plans in Illinois were also merged with the Chicago-based plan, and the company operated as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Over time, other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans joined HCSC: Texas in 1998; New Mexico in 2001; Oklahoma in 2005; and Montana in 2013.