Our History

For more than 70 years, Blue Cross has provided superior health insurance services to our members. Here are some of the highlights from these years. 

1939

We begin operations as the Hospital Service Corporation of Rhode Island.

1942

Member enrollment reaches 100,000.

1945

Enrollment exceeds 350,000, accounting for hospital coverage of more than 50 percent of Rhode Island’s population.

1949

We organize the Rhode Island Medical Society Physicians Service.

1950

We begin to provide voluntary medical insurance coverage to Rhode Islanders.

1962

The Hospital Service Corporation of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Medical Society Physicians Service jointly offer major medical for the first time, providing coverage for office visits and prescription drugs.

1973

The Hospital Service Corporation of Rhode Island changes its name to Blue Cross of Rhode Island.

1974

The Rhode Island Medical Society Physician Service changes its name to Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

1982

Blue Cross of Rhode Island and Blue Shield of Rhode Island merge to become Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

2001

We establish the BlueAngel Community Outreach Program and BlueAngel Community Health Grants to help improve the quality of lives of Rhode Islanders. As a company, we help more than 125 nonprofit organizations annually through volunteerism, in-kind support, and direct financial assistance.

2004

James E. Purcell becomes President and Chief Executive Officer. He receives the Providence Business News’ Business Leadership Award the following year.

2005

Concentrating on continual efforts to build our partnership with the Rhode Island community, Blue Cross holds our first annual community meeting, where we announce plans to organize a program to improve health literacy among Rhode Islanders.

2007

We launch The Health & Wellness Institute, a health management solutions subsidiary focused on improving quality of life at three levels: individual, community, and worksite.

2009

Blue Cross sets out to change the healthcare delivery system in Rhode Island, with the ultimate goal of better care, more moderate costs, and, most important, improved health for our members. To accomplish this, we undertake a sweeping transformation that is fundamentally changing the way we operate our business.

2010

We sign agreements with more than 25 percent of primary care physicians in the state to establish patient-centered medical homes, which provide a team-based approach to care. These agreements will ultimately impact more than 100,000 members.

2011

Jim Purcell retires. Under his leadership, Blue Cross initiated transformative changes to improve healthcare quality, access, and affordability, including increasing reimbursements to primary care doctors, supporting electronic medical records and patient-centered medical homes, and championing equal coverage for mental health.

Peter Andruszkiewicz becomes President and CEO. His 30 years of health insurance experience make him uniquely qualified to play a leading role in shaping the future of Rhode Island as the state implements healthcare reform.

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