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The history of HealthPartners

Over 60 years of making good happen.

Grounded in community

In 1937, a group of Minnesotans came together to help people pay hospital bills that were hard to afford. Four men – a credit union manager whose health was failing, a cowboy turned postal worker, an idealistic cooperative manager, and a socially-conscience lawyer – set out to form a prepaid health plan. But cooperative, prepaid medicine was illegal in Minnesota at the time. So, over the next 20 years, they worked and changed the laws.

Together, they established Group Health in 1957. It was one of the first consumer-governed, prepaid health plans in the United States. While radical at the time, it helped change American health care for the better.

Image: Our first clinic, Como Clinic in St Paul

Our first clinic

The Como Clinic opened on Aug. 1, 1957 in St. Paul, Minn. The clinic had several rooms with frugal furnishings – examining tables, desks and chairs. A sympathetic patient bought the clinic an operating lamp. The clinic was sparse, in part, because it lacked funds. Most medical procedures took place in hospitals. Community clinics performed mostly routine exams.

Image: Group Health merges with MedCenters Health Plan to form HealthPartners

Expanding our reach

In 1992, Group Health merged with MedCenters Health Plan. Together, they formed HealthPartners. Since then, we’ve combined with notable care organizations. They include Park Nicollet Health System, Regions Hospital, Lakeview Health, and Hudson Hospital & Clinic. In the 2010s, we also expanded our insurance business to new states. You’ll now find us in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota.


Image: 1957 Group Health building, Como Clinic in St Paul
Image: 1968 Tooth icon as we introduce first prepaid dental plan to Minnesota
Image: 1975 Stars and moon icon, nurse support by phone gives members night and weekend help
Image: 1980 World icon, HealthPartners Center for International Health opens
Image: 1990 Microscope icon, HealthPartners Research Foundation opens
Image: 1993 Regions Hospital building, joins HealthPartners
Image: 1995 Phone icon, phone health coaching launches to help meet patient needs
Image: 1997 Uganda map icon, HealthPartners teams up to establish a health coop in Uganda
Image: 2005 Westfields Hospital & Clinic building, joins HealthPartners family of care
Image: 2006 Ribbon icon, HealthPartners receives national Acclaim Award for excellent patient care
Image: 2008 Generic member card icon, HealthPartners HMO/PPO insurance plan recognized as national benchmark
Image: 2009 Hudson Hospital & Clinic joins HealthPartners family of care
Image: 2010 virtuwell, our 24/7 online clinic, launches to bring on demand care
Image: 2011 Lakeview Health joins HealthPartners family of care
Image: 2012 Make It OK, program dedicated to ending mental illness stigma, launches
Image: 2013 Park Nicollet Health Services combines with HealthPartners
Image: 2014 Amery Hospital & Clinic building, joins HealthPartners family of care
Image: 2015 UnityPoint Health building and HealthPartners announce an affiliation agreement
Image: 2017 HealthPartners Neuroscience Center opens in St Paul
Image: 2018 Hutchinson Health joins HealthPartners
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