LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hundreds of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees joined Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today at the company’s northeast side offices for a ceremony marking Anthem’s 75 years of providing health benefits to Kentucky residents.
“Hospitals were trying desperately to collect their bills but without much success”
Gov. Beshear issued an acclamation declaring today Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Day in the Commonwealth.
“The people of Kentucky can be proud of this homegrown company that has done so much to improve the health of our communities the past 75 years,” said Gov. Beshear. “In addition, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield contributes to the health of our state’s economy as a major employer and an active corporate citizen providing support for health causes, the arts and education.”
Several local hospital leaders were also in attendance at the outdoor ceremony.
"For 75 years, Anthem has been an important employer, community supporter, and source of health care and economic security for its members," said Mayor Greg Fischer. "The people of Anthem are a key part of the thriving and innovative Lifelong Wellness and Aging Care sector in Louisville."
The Louisville Community Hospital Service, the precursor to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, was formed in 1938 at a time when many hospitals in town were on the verge of closing because of financial pressures.
“Hospitals were trying desperately to collect their bills but without much success,” wrote James S. Judy in “Profile of Kentucky Blue Cross,” published in 1965. “People who went to the hospital had no form of prepayment plan for hospitalization, and very few if any had been able to save for such an emergency.”
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has grown from 70 thousand policyholders in the early years of its existence into the state’s largest health insurer today, serving 1.2 million members across Kentucky. Nationwide, 1 in 3 Americans carries a Blue Cross and Blue Shield card.
“Things have changed a lot in 75 years,” said Joseph Swedish, CEO of WellPoint, Inc., Anthem’s parent company. “Our membership has grown exponentially, the health care system is far more complex, and we rely on technology far more heavily. But one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to our local communities, our commitment to making Kentucky a healthier, better place to live not just for our members but for all Kentuckians.”
The ceremony concluded with a donation of $75,000 from Anthem to the March of Dimes, an organization that was also established 75 years ago.
“The rate of babies born prematurely and with low birth weight is a major public health concern in Kentucky,” said Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky president Deb Moessner. “That’s why we’ve been a strong backer of the March for Babies walks across the state in this anniversary year. It’s our way of saying happy anniversary to a partner that has done and continues to do so much good work in communities across the state.”
Last year, the company contributed nearly $2 million and hundreds of volunteer hours to health-related initiatives and civic causes across Kentucky.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield employs 1,100 people at offices in Louisville and Lexington.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.