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1 Private Insurance: The Giant It Has Become Courtney Ehle Aspen University HCA 320: Healthcare Policy and Economics Stacy Severin, RN, MSN 10/5/20
2 Private Insurance: The Giant It Has Become Health insurance is something that is fundamentally ingrained into society today. Most people in the United States has some type of health insurance coverage and it is generally seen as something that is more obligatory to have. So it seems interesting to think that just 100 years ago, health insurance was not a thing. The health insurance that we know today began in the 1920s and has grown into the formidable giant that we know today. This paper will discuss the start of private health insurance, some of the key federal laws that apply to health insurance, how the name of the insurance game is slowly beginning to change, and how nurses can play a role in it all. Evolution of Private Health Insurance Insurance, by definition, is “a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness or death in return for payment of a premium (Oxford Dictionary). Health insurance began to form in the late 1800s, but the first well-documented employer-sponsored program was started in 1920s in Dallas, Texas at Baylor University. The teachers joined together and created a program where they would pay a premium to the university every month in exchange for future medical services. This program later became Blue Cross (Reed, 1965). The only issue with this was that is only covered hospital-based issues and not doctor’s visits. In the 1930s, a group of employers in the lumber and mining industries came together and offered a physician-based service. This plan developed into the National Association of Blue Shield Plans and subsequently merged with many Blue Cross companies and have become the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance companies we know today. Over the years, healthcare costs have increased and employers saw fit to provide greater benefits to their employees. In the 1970s United Healthcare was created and is
3 currently the largest healthcare provider in the United States (Academic Health Plans, 2018).

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