Kansas City has been home to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) for more than 75 years.
Through these years, healthcare and health insurance have substantially evolved and Blue KC has been a source of trusted guidance and leadership every step of the way, creating innovative programs to improve healthcare as well as the health and wellness of our members. Starting with just one member in 1938 and growing to nearly one million members to date, Blue KC continues to provide the same award-winning customer service we did more than 75 years ago.
Timeline of Events
The first group hospitalization plan, known as Group Hospital Services, began operating in Kansas City and was later named Blue Cross of Kansas City. Blue Cross of Kansas City was incorporated with initial funding from the Jackson County Medical Society and local hospitals. Starting with just seven network hospitals, two employees and $3,025 in working capital provided by local physicians, hospitals and individuals, Blue Cross of Kansas City grew to 10 network hospitals and eight employees in just one year.
Wolferman's Bakery was the first group to join Blue Cross of Kansas City. Betty Jackson, Office Manager and Controller at Wolferman's bakeries, was the first employee to sign up with her group for Blue Cross coverage and remained a valued customer for many years.
Kansas City BlueShield was formed to provide members with a prepayment plan for physician services, holding contracts with more than 300 companies and serving more than 14,000 members within a year of inception.
Non-group enrollment was introduced, offering memberships without age limit to all who do not have group enrollment available. Kansas City was the first Plan in the county to offer this type of enrollment without age limit, thus making membership available to everyone in the community.
With the growing need to provide healthcare to senior citizens, we introduced a Medicare program that provided seniors with health insurance—and still do today.
The Kansas City BlueCross and BlueShield plans merged to become one entity, creating Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). Since then, our company has continued to add members from the greater Kansas City area. With health and wellness becoming a prime focus, Blue KC developed A Healthier You™, a comprehensive program that gives members the personalized tools, services and products they need to achieve lifelong health and wellness.
In 2003, Blue Cross and Blue KC celebrated it’s 65th anniversary by purchasing a new headquarters and by growing revenues and membership to record levels.
We purchased our headquarters building at 2301 Main Street to help drive down administrative costs and demonstrate our long-standing commitment to Kansas City. This same year, Blue KC celebrated its 65th anniversary and grew our revenues to more than $1 billion and saw the strongest overall membership growth in our history.
Blue KC serves nearly one million members. Through at least one of our physician and hospital networks, group and individual customers can access virtually every physician and every hospital in our 32-county area—making Blue KC the unquestioned leader in greater Kansas City. With a variety of changes brought about by the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, we continue to work towards innovative solutions to help customers navigate the complexities of this changing time.