Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and a not-for-profit health insurance provider with more than one million members. Founded in 1938, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City offers a wide variety of healthcare, dental, life insurance and Medicare coverage. Blue KC serves 32 counties in greater Kansas City and northwest Missouri and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Type Not-for-Profit
Industry Health Insurance
Founded 1938
Headquarters Kansas City, MO


Originally named Blue Cross of Kansas City, the health insurance provider started with seven network hospitals and two employees. In 1938, Blue Cross of Kansas City signed its first group, Wolferman's Bakery and its owner, Grace “Betty” Jackson, became its first member. By the end of 1938, Blue Cross of Kansas City grew to 10 network hospitals, eight employees and nearly 14,000 members.[1]

Kansas City Blue Shield was formed in 1943 to provide members with a prepayment plan for physician services. Kansas City Blue Shield extended benefits to individuals not covered by an employer, known as individual member enrollment, in 1950. The company was the first Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan in the country to provide this new service.

In 1982, the Kansas City Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans merged, creating Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

In July 2009, Blue KC was the first company in the country to earn the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Wellness & Health Promotion (WHP) Accreditation.[2]

The WHP program assesses key areas of health promotion, including how wellness programs are implemented in the workplace, how services like coaching are provided to help participants develop skills to make healthy choices, and how individual health information is properly safeguarded.

Live Blue[edit]

In 2013, Blue KC opened two neighborhood wellness centers called Live Blue[3] Live Blue Zona Rosa and Live Blue Prairie Village function as health education and wellness centers where visitors participate in free health education information sessions, wellness seminars, fitness classes, and face-to-face customer service and product sales support. The centers also serve as a meeting spot for local clubs, cycling and running groups and host professional Kansas City athletes for appearances and autograph signings.

Subsidiaries and Affiliates[edit]

In addition to healthcare benefits, Blue KC offers specialized services and managed care expertise through its affiliates and subsidiaries.

  • Cobalt Ventures, LLC – a holding company for Blue KC's subsidiaries
  • Cobalt MedPlans – a domestic provider of health insurance claims processing serving HMO, Medicaid, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare Advantage and commercial health plans
  • Preferred Health Professionals (PHP) – a subsidiary that offers coverage in Kansas and Missouri with multiple PPO network products
  • CompAlliance – a subsidiary that offers workers’ compensation services to regional employers and insurers
  • New Directions Behavioral Health (NDBH) – a subsidiary that offers managed behavior healthcare, employee assistance, organizational consulting, and health coaching
  • Cobalt Astra –a provider of human resource services, strategic planning and other outsourcing services
  • Cobalt Talon – a provider of business intelligence, analytics and data warehousing services


  1. ^ "Blue KC History". 
  2. ^ "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City Becomes Nation's First Organization to Receive NCQA Accreditation for Wellness & Health Promotion" (Press release). NCQA. July 23, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Blue Cross of KC opens retail location in Zona Rosa". Kansas City Business Journal. June 20, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]