KUDOS OF THE MONTH: Blue Cross Blue Shield

BCBS LEADERSHIP: In November, from left, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma President Ted Haynes and former BCBSOK presidents Ralph Rhoades, Ron King, C. Wyndham Kidd, Jr., and Bert Marshall all joined in BCBSOK’s 75-year-anniversary celebration.

GTR Newspapers photo

In November, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) celebrated 75 years in Oklahoma.

To celebrate the anniversary, BCBSOK gathered historical items to be placed in a time capsule that will be buried on the company’s property and opened at its 100th anniversary in 2040.

“Our long history in Oklahoma is not just about insurance—it’s about health, community and working together to make Oklahoma stronger,” says Ted Haynes, BCBSOK president.

BCBSOK originally began as the Group Hospital Services of Oklahoma and opened its doors on March 15, 1940, in the Tulsa Loan Building in downtown Tulsa. Soon after, they adopted the Blue Cross name and logo. The Blue Shield Companion Plan, initially known as Oklahoma Physician’s Services, was established in 1945.

Over the coming years, hospital benefits and medical coverage was expanded and membership soared: the company grew from 13 employees in 1945 to 130 in 1952. Much of the member growth in the 1950s is attributed to the company’s Community Enrollment Program that was established in 1953.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield operated for more than 30 years as separate entities with shared management and staff until 1973, when the two merged into Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

Today, BCBSOK has more than 840,000 members and employs more than 1,100 Oklahomans.

Updated 11-24-2015

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