From medical to life, Medavie Blue Cross has been providing coverage for 80 years

Posted on June 16, 2023 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments


An ad from Blue Cross organization in 1956 to showcase their member benefits not covered by government hospital insurance plans (photo credit: Medavie Blue Cross)


Med-à-vie — the name says it all. The insurance carrier headquartered in New Brunswick provides coverage from medical (‘med’) to life (or ‘à vie’, en français). Approaching a century of operations, Medavie Blue Cross has deep roots on Canada’s east coast and now has national reach.

East coast coverage

As Blue Cross made its way to Canada, the beginning of Medavie was in 1943 when Maritime Hospital Service Association was established in Nova Scotia. Founded in response to rising demand for coverage of hospital expenses, the organization was also incorporated in New Brunswick and P.E.I. the following year and N.L. in 1949.

The organization began as a not-for-profit entity that offered private, prepaid health insurance for hospital care. It had some early success, having acquired 90,000 members in 18 months.

After renaming to Maritime Blue Cross–Blue Shield Association in 1954, the not-for-profit and other Blue Cross organizations began to adapt their services throughout the ‘60s as Canada established its public healthcare system. This led to coverage for physician care, prescriptions and other benefits that complement publicly-funded coverage.

An ad promoting the benefits of having Medavie Blue Cross insurance (video credit: Medavie Blue Cross on YouTube)


Expanding operations

The organization changed its name again in 1986 to Blue Cross of Atlantic Canada and established its headquarters in Monton, New Brunswick. In 1999, Blue Cross of Atlantic Canada expanded operations by merging with Maritime Medical Care to become Atlantic Blue Cross Care. A benefit of the merger was Maritime Medical Care’s established Emergency Medical Care (EMC) division that provided ambulance services.

Following the merger, Atlantic Blue Cross Care branched outside of Atlantic Canada and began offering group benefits in Ontario and Quebec. This led to a new corporate identity in 2003 to manage the organization’s growing services—Medavie Inc. In 2005, the organization adopted the name Medavie Blue Cross for its healthcare services for individuals, employers and government.


Signage inside a Medavie Blue Cross office location (photo credit: Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)


Formalizing structure

As Medavie expanded across Canada, the organization created Medavie EMS Group of Companies to manage its emergency medical services (EMS). The division organizes emergency and non-emergency ambulance services, as well as community health solutions, clinical training and medical communications for various regions throughout Canada. Now known as Medavie Health Services, the organization has become the largest contracted provider of EMS management in the country.

In 2011, Medavie also launched the Medavie Foundation as a way to give back to its local communities by supporting physical and mental wellness.


A video describing the Medavie Blue Cross mobile app (video credit: Medavie Blue Cross on YouTube)


Going strong

Today, Medavie Blue Cross is an all-in-one insurance provider offering health, travel, dental, disability and life benefits. The organization has grown to 8,000 employees and serves over one million members across Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Quebec and the Prairies. Medavie now also offers digital programs like Connected Care, which provides online access to mental health resources.

Having come a long way since 1943, Medavie continues to support Canadians 80 years later.


For more Web Exclusives, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment policy

Comments are moderated to ensure thoughtful and respectful conversations. First and last names will appear with each submission; anonymous comments and pseudonyms will not be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that Atlantic Business Magazine has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner it chooses. Publication of a comment does not constitute endorsement of that comment. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


With ABM

Help support the magazine and entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada.


Stay in the Know

Subscribe Now

Subscribe to receive the magazine and gain access to exclusive online content.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is empty