In early 1940, the country was still recovering from the effects of the Great Depression. North Dakota had recently experienced drought, bank failures, an eroding economy and an exodus of residents leaving the state during the preceding two decades.
It was against this backdrop that the North Dakota Hospital Association began operating on March 22, 1940 with a staff of three in the First National Bank Building in Fargo, introducing prepaid hospital care to the state. North Dakota’s first health insurance company was started with help from St. Luke’s and St. John’s hospitals in Fargo and local civic groups to help fill a need for affordable medical coverage.
First National Bank Building, Fargo
The company, which would become Blue Cross of North Dakota in 1964 and merge with Blue Shield of North Dakota in 1986, came along at a time when many North Dakotans were struggling to afford medical care. Since its humble beginnings, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) has collaborated with others to help provide the best possible health coverage value, while always striving to serve its members.
Much has changed during the last 75 years, but BCBSND is still led by the same spirit of public service and collaboration. Over the years, generations of North Dakotans have come to rely on the high quality coverage and outstanding customer service we provide our members and neighbors. That’s why Midwest Motor Express, and many other companies, have provided BCBSND insurance to their employees for decades. It’s also why North Dakota families like the Strommens trust us to provide their health insurance coverage.
Our company’s enrollment has grown from 9,000 our first year to more than 450,000 today. BCBSND insures roughly half of the state’s population. An overwhelming 99.6 percent of North Dakota doctors and 99 percent of hospitals in the state accept our coverage, ensuring members have access to most doctors and virtually all health care facilities across the state. Our nationwide network also allows you to visit more than 90 percent of doctors and specialists, wherever Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance is accepted in all 50 states, and in 200 countries worldwide.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota’s current Fargo headquarters building
We are proud of our North Dakota heritage and to be North Dakotans serving North Dakotans. We are based in North Dakota and our 10 offices throughout the state help us provide the world-class service our members have come to expect from us. Our 1,000 employees are your friends and neighbors. As a nonprofit member-owned company, our passion is serving our members. Without our members we wouldn’t be here.
We’ve been fortunate enough to serve North Dakotans for 75 years. With the support of our members and local communities, we plan to be around in another 75 years.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
Membership growth through the years
Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.