Sutter Health History
Pioneers in Health Insurance
Wall Street was a shambles and jobs and money were scarce. Affordable health care was as hard to come by as a new pair of shoes. Caught in the grip of the Great Depression, Sacramento and the rest of the nation struggled to emerge from an economic disaster that haunted an entire decade.
Fortunately, a handful of physicians associated with Sacramento's Sutter General Hospital saw beyond the despair. Seeing a need for an alternative health care financing vehicle in the early 1930s, the doctors created the first open enrollment hospital insurance plan in the United States.
Headquartered at Sutter General, the Superior California Hospital Association plan was open to any individual or group. Participants could choose their hospital and doctor, and were covered for board and room as well as for "radiographic" and laboratory services.
With Sutter General staff as its first customers, the plan grew over the years to cover individuals and families throughout the greater Sacramento region.