1935 – An assortment of Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans were available in 13 states. These plans negotiated reduced rates with doctors and hospitals making their plans very profitable.
1939 – The beginning of Kaiser Foundation Medical Care Plan: Construction and dam workers for the Kaiser Construction Company had premiums voluntarily deducted from their paychecks to cover healthcare expenses. The money was sent to a holding company that in turn paid the money to an on-site Kaiser doctor. This “company” contracted doctor provided care for the workers and their families.
1940 - Wage freezes during wartime were imposed by the government. Unable to attract workers by paying more, employers instead improved their benefit packages to include health and disability insurances, hoping to entice prospective employees.
1941 – Nearly 12 million of the nation’s population of 132 million had some form of health coverage. Commercial insurance companies enter the health market based on the idea that the insured are employed and thus likely to be young and healthy. Commercial carriers charged higher rates for sick and elderly patients.
1942 – Congress makes employer-provided health care tax deductible for employers and 20% of the US population (26 million people) were enrolled in group hospital plans. Kaiser Foundation medical care plan expanded to Kaiser shipyard employees.
1945 - Strong unions began bargaining for better benefit packages including employer-sponsored health insurance. Kaiser Health Plans opened for community participation.
1949 – Deductibles were introduced for the first time. Liberty Mutual introduces Major Medical Insurance to protect individuals against extended illnesses or catastrophic injuries.
1950 – Fifty percent of the US population was covered by health insurance. One-third of the US population was covered by employer-provided plans which had become an expected part of their employment benefits package.
1951 – Nearly 80 million people in the US had at least basic health insurance. Over 100,000 individuals and their dependents had Major Medical Insurance.
1954 - Disability benefits were included in social security coverage for the first time. Over 60% of the population have some type of hospital insurance.
1957 – Vision care began being offered.
1958 – 75% of Americans had some form of health coverage.