75 years of health care access

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Since 1946, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has continuously worked with patients and providers to offer South Carolinians secure, cost-efficient health care coverage. In honor of our 75th anniversary, this interactive timeline will take you on a journey through our company’s long and storied history. Along the way, you will learn the purpose, follow the progress and meet the people that made — and continue to make — BlueCross the great company we know it to be. Whether you are a new hire, an “old timer” or anywhere in between, we thank you for all you do and hope you enjoy the journey! Scroll down to get started.

The Formative Years

When BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina emerged in its earliest form as the South Carolina Hospital Service Plan in 1946, it changed lives by giving people a new way to access health care. Learn about the visionaries who helped to make this happen and the milestones they achieved on their journey to make this company what it is today.

The Formative Years

Legislation allows for statewide Hospital Service Plan

The legislation came after a push from South Carolina residents to have a nonprofit prepayment hospital service plan. The South Carolina Medical Association noted that using the BlueCross symbol would show the plan met “rigorous standards of community service, professional sponsorship, nonprofit organization and financial solvency.”


The Formative Years

South Carolina Hospital Service Plan elects officers

In April 1946, in its first meeting, the board of directors elected Roger Huntington to serve as president and George Buchanan as vice president. The meeting was held at the Wade Hampton Hotel in Columbia. 

In December of that same year, the Hospital Service Plan received its charter from the South Carolina Insurance Commission once the Plan could show it had $5,000 in assets. Directors accumulated these assets through a grant from The Duke Endowment and other funds coming in from across the state. The Plan went on to operate under the BlueCross logo. 


The Formative Years

South Carolina Hospital Service Plan (BlueCross) signs its first group

The company signed Keys Printing as its first group. The Greenville-based company opened in 1869 and went on to become one of South Carolina’s oldest continuously running companies.


The Formative Years

South Carolina Medical Service Plan (BlueShield) receives charter

The nonprofit group covered physician services. Soon after, it started operating under the BlueShield logo.


The Formative Years

Buchanan takes over as president of South Carolina Hospital Service Plan (BlueCross)

George Buchanan took over as the organization’s second president after Roger Huntington retired. Viewing his work with the organization as a public service, Buchanan refused to accept a salary. Buchanan served with the company for 32 years.


The Formative Years

South Carolina Hospital Service Plan (BlueCross) moves to Columbia

The company moved from Greenville into humble temporary housing in the former Winn Dixie building on Rosewood Drive in Columbia until renovations were complete at its new home in Five Points. By the mid-1960s, the company had outgrown its Five Points location and began construction on its current headquarters, the Tower building at I-20 and Alpine Road.


The Formative Years

South Carolina Hospital Service Plan (BlueCross) wins federal contract 

The Hospital Service Plan won a new line of business, the Federal Employee Program (FEP), which provides insurance to federal employees. Still going strong today, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has ranked our BlueCross FEP program as excellent in customer service for 31 consecutive years! In 2017, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina received the inaugural Shirley Scruggs Award, an award named in honor and in memory of our colleague who spent her long and illustrious career leading the South Carolina FEP to become one of the most distinguished programs in the entire Blue Cross Blue Shield system. 

We currently have the largest federal employee enrollment in South Carolina with more than 85,000 FEP members. That’s 75 percent of all federal employees who participate in the FEP program in South Carolina. 


The Formative Years

Hospital Service Plan (BlueCross) and Medical Service Plan (BlueShield) chosen for Medicare contracts

When Medicare started, hospitals were quick to certify for participation in the program. They nominated the South Carolina Hospital Service Plan to work with the Social Security Administration to pay claims under Medicare Part A. The federal government chose the Medical Service Plan to administer Part B.


The Formative Years

South Carolina Hospital Service Plan and Medical Service Plan change names

The Hospital Service Plan changed its name to BlueCross of South Carolina. The Medical Service Plan became BlueShield of South Carolina.


The Formative Years

BlueCross and BlueShield become mutual insurance companies

With each becoming a mutual insurance company, they transitioned from nonprofit service organizations to full-fledged insurance companies. They would be treated more like their commercial competitors in insurance dealings. They were able to start providing major medical benefits, and members gained the ability and responsibility of choosing members of the board of directors. 


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