CareFirst, Inc. is a not-for-profit, privately-held company which envelopes its two affiliates Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. and CareFirst Maryland, Inc., which are collectively known as CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield. CareFirst is licensed to do business throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia.
In 1934, Group Hospitalization, an association of hospitals, is formed in Washington and in 1942 is granted permission to use the Blue Cross brand. In 1937, a group of 15 Baltimore hospitals form the Associate Hospital Service of Baltimore and start using the Blue Cross brand. Later, in 1947 it changed its name to Maryland Hospital Service (MHS) to better represent its 500,000 statewide members.
In 1948, a physicians group known as the Medical Service of the District of Columbia is formed and two years after, the Maryland Medical Service (MMS) is incorporated and the company begins carrying the Blue Shield name. In 1951, Group Hospitalization becomes a full-fledged Blue Cross member and by 1957, MHS’s enrollment had topped 1-million.
In 1969, MHS changes its name to Maryland Blue Cross (MBC) and MMS to Maryland Blue Shield (MBS). The two companies merge 15 years later in 1984 to form Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland (BCBSMD).
CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield is a not-for-profit health insurance company and serves nearly 3.4-million members. They employ more than 5000 throughout DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Their network includes more than 80-percent of all providers in Maryland and the capital area. Carefirst’s total annual revenue was nearly $7-billion in 2009.