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Blue Shield of California: Wikis


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Blue Shield of California
Type not-for-profit
Founded 1938 (created)
1939 (incorporated)
Founder(s) California Medical Association
Headquarters San Francisco, California
Key people Bruce Bodaken,
chairman and chief executive
Industry healthcare
Revenue $8.898 billion USD (2008)
Net income $307 million USD (2008)
Employees 4,500

Blue Shield of California is a not-for-profit health plan founded in 1939 and based in San Francisco, California. The organization serves over 3.4 million health plan members and nearly 65,000 physicians across the state[1]. Blue Shield of California was founded by the California Medical Association.



Blue Shield of California, then known as California Physicians' Service, was created by the California Medical Association on December 18, 1938[2], and was incorporated on February 2, 1939. The organization began offering coverage on March 6 of that same year. In 1946, the organization was among a founder of the National Association of Blue Shield Plans, which later became the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Today, Blue Shield of California is an independent licensee of the national association.

The Blue Shield of California health plan was the first in the nation to offer catastrophic coverage in 1950, provide coverage for a heart transplant in 1984, offer online benefit and enrollment information in 1996, and offer an online enrollment system for agents in 1998. In 2006, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, commonly referred to as NCQA, recognized Blue Shield as an "excellent" health plan for service and clinical quality.[3]

Health Reform

In 2002, Blue Shield of California became the first health insurer in the country to propose a specific plan for universal health coverage. Called "Universal Coverage, Universal Responsibility," the proposal would require individuals, employers, and government to share responsibility for achieving universal coverage. The proposal is built on four guiding principles:

1. Everyone should have access to affordable coverage regardless of age, health status or wealth.
2. Financial responsibility for coverage must be shared broadly. We cannot and should not try to achieve universal coverage solely on the backs of business or any other lone sector of society.
3. Extending coverage to all should not be accomplished by upending the current system; we must build on what works. The easiest and surest way to extend coverage is to bolster the mix of private and public coverage that already exists.
4. Finally, as we move forward, we must be honest about costs. There will certainly be efficiency savings under the new system, but insuring everybody — at least in the short term — will require a commitment of resources.[4]

Quality of Care

In the California Healthcare Quality Report Card 2009 Edition, Blue Shield of California received 3 out of 4 stars in Meeting National Standards of Care and 2 out of 4 stars in How Members Rate Their HMO.[5]


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