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Voluntary health insurance on the national scene. The present status of voluntary health insurance.

Klem MC
Am J Public Health 1950 Mar; 40(3):260-267
Voluntary health insurance as discussed in this paper covered medical care insurance either in cash or service benefits through insurance companies or nonprofit prepayment medical care plans. Membership in such voluntary health insurance firms has grown rapidly, primarily in Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and insurance companies. The development of consumer sponsored, industrial and physician owned plans has been slow due to the shortage of medical personnel interested in salaried employment, the difficulties involved in the development of medical facilities, the rising and uncertain cost of providing medical and hospital service benefits, the existence of certain state legislation, the availability of Blue Cross and Shield plans, and group insurance contracts. Most of the recent plans took into consideration the special needs and desires of each group which they addressed. Unlike earlier plans, the Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and insurance company group plans were organized to provide protection against the cost of hospitalized illness to any group that cared to enroll. The trend toward indemnity benefits among Blue Cross and Shield plans has erased somewhat the distinction between nonprofit plans and insurance companies. Figures in 1947 indicated that total payments by both nonprofit programs and insurance companies to medical personnel and hospitals represented less than 10 percent of the total cost of medical care to American families. Plans for future health care will be influenced by union collective bargaining and governmental commissions examining the situation.
NIOSH-Author; Industrial-health-programs; Medical-care; Medical-treatment; Hospital-equipment; Worker-health; Lost-work-days
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Division of Industrial Health
Source Name
American Journal of Public Health
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division