The heritage of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota is firmly seeded in the makings of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brands. 1929 was the year that America came to know what a prepaid health insurance plan is when Justin Ford Kimball successfully managed to provide coverage to teachers for 21 hospital days for 50 cents each. In 1939, this concept assumed a national shape when the plan acquired the name of Blue Cross. The initiation of the Blue Shield tradition was quite similar and it goes back to the earlier part of the 20th century when employers in mining and lumbering camps thought of paying for the medical services of their employees. In 1939, once again, this effort assumed the Blue Shield name.
As for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Dakota, it started out as two separate organizations namely, the Associated Hospital Service and the South Dakota Medical Service. While the Associated Hospital Service started its operations in 1948, the South Dakota Medical Service did so in 1956. Later the two plans collaborated and after much change the year 1997 saw the organization taking up the name Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Dakota. Today, the organization stands to serve more than 3,00,000 members and has received much appreciation for its financial growth and stability.
Wellmark South Dakota has plans for individuals, families and employer groups. Individual plans are segregated on the basis of member age- some plans are meant for persons below 65 years of age and the rest are for Medicare eligible persons (above 65 years). Individuals below 65 can choose from the Blue Select, Blue Select Plus and Blue Select HSA plans. Persons requiring short- term insurance can opt for the Short- Term Major Medical Plan. Apart from a choice of deductibles and prescription benefits, the Blue Select plan has the Blue Card program advantage that allows members to access healthcare no matter where they are. The Blue Select Plus plan is similar but in this case members have to take up a greater bulk of cost sharing. The Blue Select HSA is a high deductible plan that offers extensive tax benefits to members.
Medicare Blue Rx, Senior Blue PPO and Medicare Blue PPO are Medicare options offered by Wellmark South Dakota. Medicare Blue Rx is the Part D Prescription rug plan. Senior Blue PPO consists of a range of supplement Medicare plans and Medicare Blue PPO offers a combination of drug and health coverage.
Employer groups have access to the Classic Blue and Blue Select plans. Classic Blue is a creation on the lines of a traditional indemnity plan, allowing members to choose any doctor or hospital, anytime. But like all other indemnity plans, this one too offers the advantage of a price reduction when members avail services from participating providers. Additionally, employer groups can combine their high deductible Classic Blue plans with an HSA account. Blue Select is a PPO plan that too allows the combination with an HSA account when the plan happens to have a high deductible.