; We’re Turning 80 This Month. And We’re Celebrating With Our Members.
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Press Release

We’re Turning 80 This Month. And We’re Celebrating With Our Members.

December 4, 2012

NEWARK – It is hard to believe that health insurance – a critical protection for most people – has only been around for a little more than eight decades in the United States. And one of the nation’s first health insurance companies started in Newark, New Jersey on December 14, 1932.

“What a wonderful thing it would be if you could remove the cashier’s window from the hospital,” Frank Van Dyke thought during the Great Depression.[1]  It was that idea that sparked the creation of the nation’s first multi-hospital pre-payment plan.  Health insurance was born.

“It’s only purpose,” Mr. Van Dyke explained to the Newark Evening News on December 9, 1932, announcing the new company and the value of this new insurance, “is to collect sufficient funds from a group of employed persons in advance so that when the individual in that group comes to the hospital his hospital bill will be paid in advance.”

Associated Hospitals of Essex County, Inc., as the company was first known, began selling policies in 1932 for $10 a month covering 21 days of hospital care.  The company would become one of the first Blue Cross plans in the country.  Prepaid medical and surgical coverage – Blue Shield of New Jersey – followed in the 1940’s and the two companies merged in 1986.  Today, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the state’s oldest and largest health insurance company serving more than 3.6 million members.

“Health care has changed drastically over the past 80 years, but people still seek peace of mind, financial protection, and stability from their health insurance company,” said Robert A. Marino, Chairman and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ. “We are honored that more New Jersey residents continue to choose Horizon more than any other health insurer and we are committed to living up to their expectations for the next 80 years.”

Horizon BCBSNJ is celebrating its 80th anniversary on its Facebook page  with promotions and company facts and trivia.  Additional Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey history information can be found at HorizonBlue.com

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health services corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, and prescription insurance products and services.  Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving more than 3.6 million members with headquarters in Newark and offices in Wall, Mt. Laurel, and West Trenton.  Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com


[1] Anderson, Odin W., Blue Cross Since 1929: Accountability in the Public Trust, Ballinger Publishing Company (1975), p. 33

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.