Manitoba Organization: Manitoba Hospital Service Association / Manitoba Medical Service / Manitoba Blue Cross
Founded in March 1938 by an Act of the Manitoba Legislature, and modeled on a similar system in the American state of Minnesota, the Manitoba Hospital Service Association provided non-profit group hospitalization insurance to the people of Manitoba. Subscribers to the service would pay a set amount monthly (initially, one dollar) so that unexpected hospital bills would be covered. The initial slate of executive officers were accountant Albert Livingstone Crossin (Chairman), manager William T. Hunt (Vice-Chairman), physician Ernest Samuel Rutherford Moorhead (Secretary), and banker John McEachern (Treasurer).
In 1939, the Winnipeg firefighters’ union asked for an insurance plan to pay their members’ medical bills. Ernest Moorhead persuaded the Manitoba Medical Association to offer them a plan in which he received the claims from doctors, accepted some of them and paid them so far as the premium income from firefighters permitted. The firefighters’ plan was expanded in October 1944 to become the Manitoba Medical Service, with Moorhead as secretary and medical director, providing medical benefits for large groups of employees. The Manitoba Medical Service later merged with the Manitoba Hospital Service Association.
The Manitoba Medical Service was incorporated by the Manitoba Legislature in 1942.
Trib, 6 Jan 1961, p11: Manitoba Medical Services announces its move to 599 Empress
The Association gained the right to use the Blue Cross name and trademark in 1974. Incorporated formally as the United Health Services Corporation, it operates as Manitoba Blue Cross, offering group hospitalization plans, accident and health insurance, and life insurance.
Executive Directors / Presidents / Chief Executive Officers
“Hospitalization plan aims to aid working people,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 February 1938, page 1.
“Legislature’s approval sought for group hospitalization plan,” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 February 1938, page 3.
“Hospital Service officers,” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 December 1938, page 5.
“New location,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 January 1960, page 2.
[Manitoba Service Association liquidation], Winnipeg Tribune, 12 April 1960, page 8.
“80,000 covered by Blue Cross,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 December 1974, page 10.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 January 2023