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.

For the Public Good

BlueCross is a homegrown South Carolina company, and it has been a leading supporter of important health care and economic development initiatives for the Palmetto State. The company is dedicated to improving the well-being of and quality of life for all South Carolinians, not just its members. Learn how BlueCross has backed many important programs throughout its history.

For the Public Good

BlueCross invests in health education and research at three South Carolina universities

BlueCross funded the Mary Johnson Cox Professorship of Nursing at Clemson University, the M. Maceo Nance Jr. Post RN-BS Nursing Program at South Carolina State University, and the Henry Savage Jr. Chair of Public Health Research at the University of South Carolina.


For the Public Good

BlueCross works to lower infant mortality rates in South Carolina

The company partnered with the South Carolina governor and others to launch the “Caring for Tomorrow’s Children” initiative. 

In 2011, it expanded its efforts to protect infants by joining with other partners to launch South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative. Its first project prompted all of South Carolina’s 43 hospitals to agree to end elective deliveries of babies before 39 weeks, because babies born at 37 and 38 weeks can suffer health problems. The result was a 50 percent reduction in these births, improved health outcomes and multimillion-dollar savings for the state’s Medicaid program. 


For the Public Good

BlueCross tackles the overuse of prescription drugs

The company joined the South Carolina Careful Antibiotic Use (CAUse) task force to encourage parents to talk to their children’s doctors about the difference between viral and bacterial infections as well as antibiotic resistance. In 2018, the company would confront the overuse of opioids by forming the Opioid Risk Prevention Partnership alongside the South Carolina Hospital Association and South Carolina Medical Association.


For the Public Good

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation is formed

Since the Foundation formed in 2001, it has invested more than $155 million in projects  to promote and support healthier South Carolinians, particularly the economically vulnerable, by supporting solutions to address gaps in health care and serving as an agent of change to support innovation and value-added public-private partnerships. 

That includes the Catalyst Grant program it introduced in 2019 to support health care innovation in South Carolina. Specifically, these grants focus on improving the mental health and well-being of adolescents, young adults and their families. 


For the Public Good

BlueCross CEO leads Palmetto Institute to study economic development in South Carolina

Convening business leaders from across the state, the institute’s goal was to conduct extensive research and present recommendations to state leaders on how to close the personal income gap for everyone in the state.

Using the information from that research, BlueCross helped launch the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness (New Carolina) in 2004. Its No. 1 goal was to improve the per-capita income of workers in the state.


For the Public Good

BlueCross donates more than $200,000 to Communicare

The funds enabled the organization to build a streamlined system for administering its prescription drug service for South Carolina’s uninsured population.


For the Public Good

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation awards grants to increase the number of school nurses in South Carolina

The Foundation also demonstrated its commitment to expanding school-based health services by awarding grants in 2007 to multiple schools to hire mental health counselors. 


For the Public Good

South Carolina Free Clinic Association (SCFCA) becomes a 501(c)(3) organization

SCFCA’s nonprofit status allowed the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation to provide significant investments. The Foundation’s long-standing partnership with SCFCA has provided funding and technical support to free clinics across the state.


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For the Public Good

BlueCross support honors contributions of local civil rights leader

Modjeska Monteith Simkins served as a key strategist for public health and social reform for African American people. Although her activism extended across more than seven decades and numerous causes, she is best remembered for her leadership during the early civil rights movement in South Carolina. Her home served as the city’s center for civil rights and social justice activities.


For the Public Good

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation awards grants to increase the number of health workers in our communities

In 2008, a BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation grant provided fellowships/stipends to 31 graduate nursing students who were willing to commit to teaching in a South Carolina nursing school for at least three years. Stipends were offered to students at the University of South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina and Clemson University. 

In 2016, the Foundation and others launched the Nurse Family Partnership Pay for Success project, which pairs vulnerable first-time mothers with a registered nurse who has specialized training in maternal and child health.    

The Foundation continued the work in 2017 by funding programs to increase the number of community health workers in South Carolina. These trusted members of their communities are committed to addressing the health needs of the individuals with whom they are working. 


For the Public Good

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation supports the launch of The Benefit Bank

The Foundation provided a grant of $2.35 million dollars — nearly half of the $5.7 million in grants awarded to recipients statewide — to the South Carolina Office of Rural Health. The funds were used to launch the program that helped people file tax forms and complete applications for nutrition assistance, federal student aid and other forms of government assistance.


For the Public Good

South Carolina enacts law to raise the cigarette tax

BlueCross, through the South Carolina Alliance of Health Plans, had partnered with Covering Carolina Now and others for several years prior to the law’s passage to advocate for the tax and for using proceeds to help fund health insurance for the uninsured.


For the Public Good

BlueCross partners with others in Preventing Avoidable Readmissions Together (PART)

Working through the South Carolina Partnership for Health, this statewide effort helped improve communications between patients and providers upon hospital discharge. It also reduced the rate of patients returning to hospitals within 30 days by 15 percent. This impressive result placed South Carolina in the top 10 among all states for improving the rates of hospital readmissions.


For the Public Good

BlueCross offers support to science and history in South Carolina

The South Carolina State Museum added the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Planetarium to its campus, and BlueCross became a founding donor to the International African American Museum in Charleston.


For the Public Good

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation funds campaign to prevent teen pregnancies

The Foundation provided leadership, voice and financial support from an initial 2006 grant to key organizations and their partners, which has contributed to a 70 percent drop in teen birth rates and a 58 percent decrease in teen pregnancies since the 1990s. The rates have fallen for all racial and ethnic groups, and in some cases the gap in teen birth rates by race/ethnicity has narrowed although disparities remain. Efforts have involved the medical community, health clinics, technical colleges and schools to prevent unintended teen pregnancies by helping young people get access to helpful information and services.


For the Public Good

Blue Bikes begin to roll through downtown Columbia

Blue Bike SC, a City of Columbia-owned short-term bike rental program, officially launched thanks to BlueCross support. The system has since grown to 135 bikes at 18 dock-based stations across the city. In three years, more than 73,396 miles have been traveled, translating to 28,183 trips traveled, burning 6.9 million calories.


For the Public Good

BlueCross launches Diabetes Free SC

This long-term, multimillion-dollar, statewide initiative is dedicated to addressing disparities in care in three strategic directions: improved pregnancy outcomes in women with diabetes, reduced lifelong risk of diabetes in children, and the prevention of diabetes and its complications in adults.


For the Public Good

BlueCross confronts COVID-19

BlueCross and the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation contributed $1.6 million to combat food insecurity for homebound older populations. The company also made a multimillion-dollar commitment to the state’s six private four-year historically Black colleges and universities to help with immediate financial needs to ensure sustainability and assist students with their education pursuits. BlueCross also collaborated with the Charleston County Medical Society to bring 300,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to independent physicians in South Carolina.


For the Public Good

BlueCross earns South Carolina Economic Impact Award

The award is one of the most prestigious awards a South Carolina company can receive. It recognizes companies that have withstood the test of time and have made outstanding contributions to the South Carolina economy.


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