Our history began during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the genesis of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield movement when our predecessor companies were established to help Pennsylvania's residents pay for health care.
To ensure the availability of funds to pay for hospital and medical services, respectively, a hospital association based in Pittsburgh sponsored the formation of an organization later known as Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania (now Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield). The Pennsylvania Medical Society backed the founding of Pennsylvania Blue Shield (now Highmark Blue Shield). In 1996, the two Blue plans were consolidated, forming Highmark Inc. Highmark is now one of the largest health insurers in the United States.
These two plans were unique organizations from the outset nonprofit corporations structured along traditional business lines. Without shareholders to satisfy, margins were held in reserve, applied to subsidize the cost of coverage for poor health risks, or reinvested in the business.
Leading the way
As independent organizations from the mid-1930s to the mid-1990s, Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Blue Shield introduced several innovations, including a children's health insurance program that became the model for the national CHIP program and a dedicated program for seniors that predated Medicare, which helped to ensure access to health care services for the widest possible cross section of the community.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, founded in Wilmington, Delaware in 1935, signed an affiliation agreement with our company in 2010, and the affiliation was approved in late 2011. To reflect its relationship with Highmark, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware became Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware (Highmark Delaware) in 2012.
We continue to lead the way in innovative products, programs and services for our members, providers and the industry.