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Milestones

1942

With no social security net guaranteeing access to health care, a group of 16 physicians and business people founds the Québec Hospital Service Association, which offers workers a benefit plan for hospital fees in a private or semi-private room.

A Blue Cross franchise is obtained. The “Blue Cross Plan” is based on the one developed in the United States by the American Hospital Association.
1943

The Association establishes reciprocity agreements that enable a participant to be transferred from one Plan to another without delay.

Montreal hospitals become affiliated with the Québec Hospital Service Association, and it seeks to extend its services across the province.
1945

Mission

The goals and objectives of the Québec Hospital Service Association are to provide wage-earners in the province with a means to pay for hospital fees for themselves and their families, to stabilize hospital income, and to raise the public’s level of health.

The Blue Cross benefits program is a clear success. Subscriptions increase by 122%.
1946
The Association adds two new benefits to its program: physician and surgeon’s fees and the cost of hospitalization in a general room for lower income wage-earners. Workers sign up in large numbers.
1947
With a head office already in Montreal, the Association opens offices in Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and Chicoutimi, to better serve Québec workers.
1949

Offices open in Trois-Rivières and Hull.

Hospitalization benefits paid by the Association increase from $301 000 in 1944 to nearly $5.5 million in 1949.
1950

The Québec Hospital Service Association hosts 500 delegates from across Canada and the United States for the Annual Assembly of Hospital and Medical Plans.

The parity committees of major industrial firms hire insurance companies to manage their employees’ social benefits programs, and Blue Cross designs the coverage for medical services.

To meet the needs of travelling workers, a “bank of reciprocal benefits” among Blue Cross Plans guarantees members hospitalized in the region of a participating Blue Cross company the same benefits as local members.
1954
The Association is now known publicly as Blue Cross, and the symbol is trademarked.
1956
Québec Blue Cross pilots negotiations with Trans-Canada medical plans and Canadian companies to create the first national program for sedentary rail workers.
1957
Canadian Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act: the federal government commits to reimbursing half of provincial costs.
1959

National programs covered by Blue Cross and its partners are adapted to provincial hospitalization plans in some provinces.

Incorporation of the Compagnie Mutuelle d’Assurance-Vie du Québec, which offers complete social security plans, including life insurance, disability insurance, and pensions.

1960
Blue Cross enhances its group plans by offering life and disability plans insured by the Compagnie Mutuelle d’Assurance-Vie du Québec.
1961

The Government of Québec introduces its public hospital insurance plan, which covers care given in public hospital rooms. Under the law, no insurance company can provide the same service. Blue Cross must therefore reduce the coverage provided by its group plans, making them complementary to the public plan.

1962

The Québec Hospital Service Association celebrates 20 years of service and renews its commitment to provide the best available care at the lowest possible cost. More than 750 000 people are covered by a Blue Cross plan.

Blue Cross creates the first personal health insurance plan, without restriction in terms of age or health condition, for people who are not eligible for an employer’s Blue Cross Plan; 15,000 people join.

1963

Blue Cross extends its coverage to services provided in clinic or in a doctor’s office.

30 000 people join Blue Cross’s personal health insurance plan.

With the offices on Saint-Alexandre Street now too small, the Association moves its head office to 550 Sherbrooke West in Montreal.

1965
Québec Blue Cross has nearly one million members in the province of Québec, 45,600 of whom are individual subscribers.
1968
The law takes effect on May 1, 1968 and sees to the funding of 50% of the average national cost of provincial health insurance plans.
1970

On January 1, following adoption of the Canadian health insurance act, which took effect May 1, 1968, Québec introduces its provincial health insurance program. Blue Cross waits to know the details to be able to develop new services to the extent allowed by the law.

Blue Cross remains the largest provider of complementary health insurance, with 900,000 members.

1972

The Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec extends the public plan’s coverage to the services of physicians and surgeons. Blue Cross must change its coverage radically and sees its traditional market considerably reduced.

Introduction of the dental care guarantee in group plans offered to groups of 25 wage-earners and more.
1977
To meet the needs of Quebecers who are now travelling more, Blue Cross launches a health insurance plan for travel, which takes effect on July 1. The plan covers emergency medical expenses incurred abroad. In its first six months, 32,000 people acquire a policy; in February 1978, the number increased to 39,000.
1980

More than 60,000 people subscribe to Blue Cross’s health insurance for travel.

At the same time, the economic crisis and inflation have a serious impact on health services.
1983

The Association divides its activities into two sectors and two distribution channels: a network of authorized brokers and representatives for group insurance, and direct marketing for travel insurance and personal health insurance.

The Compagnie Mutuelle d’Assurance-Vie du Québec diversifies its personal plans, particularly with the addition of a registered retirement savings plan, which is unseizable and may be converted at no charge at the time of retirement.

Assistance services are added to Blue Cross’s medical-hospital coverage within its travel insurance plans.
1984

Québec’s insurance act is modified to enable insurers to provide more extensive financial services. The Association introduces a new life insurance plan and the RRSP Plus.

Health Plus, a personal plan providing similar coverage to group health insurance, is offered to individuals aged 55 and under. Blue Cross is already serving the needs of those who would be called, 10 years later, the self-employed.

The Summertime Blue travel insurance plan is launched, available from June to September. It meets with great success among Quebecers who travel several times to the United States during a summer. Coverage for lost baggage and trip cancellation is added to the travel insurance program under the new plan Couvre-Tout.

As it celebrates 25 years of operation, the Association expands its offices and modernizes its technology and communications equipment.
1985
With a new law enabling it to diversify its activities, the Association acquires the Union Québécoise, Mutuelle d’Assurance Contre l’Incendie, which specializes in agricultural insurance. The mutual is transformed into a general insurance company. Its head office remains in Trois-Rivières, which is central to the market it serves.
1986
Creation of a downstream management company, the Canassurance Financial Corporation.
1987

On January 1, 1987, the Compagnie Mutuelle d’Assurance-Vie du Québec becomes Canassurance, compagnie d’assurance-vie inc., a limited company fully owned by the Québec Hospital Service Association.

Canassurance, compagnie d’assurances générales inc., is formed to offer property insurance (goods and vehicles), professional liability insurance, and the trip cancellation and baggage guarantees associated with Blue Cross’s travel insurance.

Blue Cross signs partnership agreements with the National Bank of Canada and the CAA-Québec automobile association.

Canadian Blue Cross companies support the mission of the Children’s Wish Foundation by graciously providing travel insurance to the families whose child has been granted a dream trip.
1989

The Blue Cross Canassurance Group continues diversifying its activities and invests in computer systems to optimize its services.

The subsidiary CanAssistance is created to provide assistance services to Blue Cross travel insurance subscribers when in an emergency situation abroad.

Québec Blue Cross signs a unique and exclusive agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida for the provision of emergency medical care in Florida, where there is a large community of Quebecers.
1990

Diversification of the services provided by the Blue Cross Canassurance Group and its various distribution channels make it a very thorough insurer. In the middle of a recession, the group has the best year in its history.

Blue Cross is a leader in health and travel insurance for individuals.
1992

Blue Cross continues to grow during its 50th year of operation.

In personal health insurance, strategic alliances and new distribution methods enable Blue Cross to offer the AMI and Health Plus personal health insurance plans directly to consumers.

Despite competition from 50 new insurance companies offering “outside Canada” products, Blue Cross remains a leader in travel insurance, and the company’s growth is inspiring.

Blue Cross becomes the insurer for the prestige credit card insurance programs offered by the National Bank of Canada and General Trust.

Blue Cross establishes a Preferred Providers Organizations agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina for the provision of emergency medical care.

Five Québec insurance companies add CanAssistance services to their group travel insurance plans.
1993

Always seeking to offer the best possible complementary support service to Quebecers, Blue Cross becomes involved in study committees and sponsors the Grand Sommet des industries de la santé.

CanAssistance acquires a competitor, Canami, and obtains the mandate from the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) to serve Quebecers who are victims of road accidents abroad.

Québec Blue Cross becomes a sponsor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and graciously provides travel insurance to the musicians and administrative staff during their tours abroad.
1995

Blue Cross divests itself of its subsidiary Union Québécoise compagnie d’assurances générales and its home and auto insurance portfolios to return to its primary mission: health insurance.

The first home care guarantee is created. This new benefit covers the services at home of an auxiliary nurse and transportation costs to or from the hospital during convalescence.

Other Canadian insurers draw on the expertise of CanAssistance for the safety of their insured travelling customers.
1997

The Government of Québec institutes its public drug insurance plan, which significantly reduces Blue Cross’s personal health insurance market.

The RAMQ lowers its per diem for medical services outside Québec. Blue Cross’s travel insurance is more important than ever.
1998
The Act Respecting the Distribution of Financial Products and Services increases the already fierce competition in the insurance market. Québec Blue Cross obtains Ontario Blue Cross’s operating licence to ensure its growth.
1999

In group insurance, Blue Cross distinguishes itself with the direct payment card for medication, home care and health assistance services.

In health insurance, Blue Cross innovates further by adding its free health assistance services to its personal plans.

CanAssistance concludes agreements with international partners: Worldcare in Sydney, Mapfre in South America and several PPO networks in the United States.
2000
Québec Blue Cross participates in the conference of the European Financial Management Association (EFMA), which is dedicated to research and the dissemination of knowledge in all spheres of finance. The chairman describes the provision of health insurance and assistance products in the context of universal and free coverage.
2001

The Blue Cross Canassurance Group sells its group insurance portfolio to Medavie Blue Cross.

Blue Cross develops a range of personal health insurance products for the network of general agents and brokers.

Four major Canadian insurance companies require the services of CanAssistance for their insured customers.

Launch of the transactional site qc.croixbleue.ca to offer travel insurance online.
2002

60th anniversary of Blue Cross.

Travel insurance is enhanced with the medical follow-up in Canada guarantee, which extends travel insurance coverage by two weeks if a Blue Cross insured customer is repatriated for medical reasons. This exclusive guarantee covers the cost of a semi-private room where the insured person is admitted, home care and transportation costs.

In the field of health, the Blue Cross Canassurance Group supports the Faculty of Medicine’s expertise and insurance medicine program at the Université de Montréal and participates in the creation of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.
2003

The Blue Cross Canassurance Group acquires Medavie Blue Cross’s travel insurance business and becomes the Blue Cross travel insurance supplier for all of eastern Canada.

Blue Cross adapts its personal health insurance programs to offer faster access to diagnostic services, a growing concern in the public. Promotion campaigns meet with success.

The Assistance program is launched to help personal health insurance subscribers manager their own health. The program adds considerable value to Blue Cross products, offering free health and legal assistance services, personalized health information, and exclusive offers from Blue Cross health partners.
2004

Acquisition of Union Life International’s insurance portfolios.

Launch of the Mortgage Insurance plan, a life and disability insurance for property financing.

Launch of the Health Bulletin, a quarterly newsletter on health prevention, medical conditions and nutrition. The newsletter is exclusive to members of the Assistance Program.

Record year in travel insurance thanks to acquisition of Atlantic Blue Cross’s portfolio and the development of new distribution channels.
2005

World phenomena such as SARS, the avian flu and natural catastrophes are the new reality for the multidisciplinary teams at CanAssistance. New high-tech communication management systems are implemented to maximize efficiency in serving the millions of travellers assisted by the company.

Merger of the life insurance and general insurance subsidiaries, which becomes the Canassurance Insurance Company.
2006

Start of the Virage technological upgrade project.

Launch of the Plan Créancier, for vehicle purchases, and marketed by Canassurance.

Launch of the Info-Partners website for travel insurance transactions by authorized distributors.

Update of the transactional site.
2007

Launch of the health insurance product TANGIBLE™, a unique concept in adaptable coverage that allows life and disability insurance guarantees to be converted into a long-term care guarantee.

Aeroplan chooses Blue Cross as travel insurance supplier for its members across Canada.

Launch of the medical Second Opinion™ program in cooperation with the McGill University Health Centre.
2008
The Blue Advantage™ discount program is adopted by all Blue Cross companies across Canada. Discounts on health and well-being products and services are available to subscribers of Blue Cross health insurance, in individual or group plans and in all provinces.
2010

To help victims of the earthquake in Haiti, Blue Cross makes its call centre and voluntary employees available to the Canadian Red Cross.

Three Canadian Blue Cross companies adopt the services of the medical Second Opinion™ program designed by the Canassurance Blue Cross Group for its group plan clientele.
2011

Blue Cross Canassurance applies the new guidelines on governance, compliance and responsible management issued by the Autorité des marchés financiers.

CanAssistance earns the gold medal at the Salon sur les meilleures pratiques d’affaires 2011 in the Competency and Recognition category.
2012
The Blue Cross Travel Assistance app is offered for free on Google Play and the App Store. It provides advice on first aid for minor incidents while travelling and enables Blue Cross travel insurance members to communicate directly with CanAssistance 24 hours a day.
2013

A wide-reaching advertising campaign strengthens recognition of the Blue Cross health insurance brand in Québec and Ontario.

The travel insurance program is revised to be more competitive. A survey at the end of the year confirms Blue Cross’s reputation and recognition as a leader in this market.

Québec Blue Cross sponsors a new-concept television program focused on travel, called Ici comme ailleurs.

Blue Cross sponsors the second Montreal High Lights Festival.
2014
Québec Blue Cross publishes its online newsletter Ideas for members and clients, and launches its Facebook page.
2015
Québec Blue Cross sponsors the 2015 5/30 Health and Wellness Challenge, which promotes health prevention through the development of healthy lifestyles.