Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, has been providing health care coverage to Montanans and other customers for more than 70 years.
In 1929, a prototype prepaid hospital plan was created in Dallas, Texas to help teachers pay for hospital costs. For a monthly contribution of $0.50 to the Baylor University Hospital, the teachers were guaranteed of up to 21 days of paid hospital care. In 1934, the organization selected a blue cross as its logo. As the plan continued to grow, the blue cross began to show up in other parts of the country, and in 1946, the Blue Cross Commission was formed as the early national organization of Blue Cross Plans.
In the early 1900's, a health coverage plan was growing out of lumber and mining camps in the Pacific Northwest. Employers wanted to provide medical care for their workers, so they arranged to pay local physicians a monthly fee for the services the employees used. These pioneer programs provided the basis for what would become the modern Blue Shield Plans. The blue shield logo was inspired by the U.S. Army Medical Corps insignia and the serpent associated with Greek mythology. This image along with the blue shield would come to represent the Blue Shield Plans, the first of which was formed in 1947, as Associated Medical Care Plans.
The Hospital Service Association (Blue Cross) entered Montana in 1940 and the Blue Shield (Montana Physicians' Service -- MPS) in 1946. A local medical community of about 200 physicians loaned the company $20,000 (each contributed $100) and then agreed to accept MPS compensation as payment-in-full for their services, a standard which continues today for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana customers. The two companies, the Hospital Service Association and the Montana Physicians' Service, partnered from 1946 until 1952, when the Hospital Service Association moved to Great Falls, and in 1964, became Blue Cross of Montana.
In 1986, the two companies merged to form Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana.