How we got here

October 24, 2019 — Tamara Castellano

From the early days of Union Pacific to modern UPREHS

The railroad is how we connected this great country from one end to the other—moving goods, materials, and our economy forward. 

Our nation has long depended on the railroads, and those who work them. 

The visionaries at Union Pacific have always known this.

Which is why in 1870, hospital associations were born to protect sick and injured railroad employees; keeping them healthy so they could forge ahead in their important work.

Hospital associations flourished as the “Iron Road” grew rapidly across the United States.

At their peak hospital associations served over half a million railroad workers, with their doctors and nurses making monumental contributions to field medicine.

They were the predecessor of the modern health plan.

In 1947, UPREHS became its own separate organization, dedicated to serving the employees of Union Pacific.

We’ve come a long way since then. Working with Anthem BlueCross BlueShield to provide you with access to some of the best and most affordable health coverage in the country.

And with Medicare plans covering you into retirement, we are proud to be your plan for life.

Those early railroad workers paved the way, and you keep the tradition alive. 

They had a steadfast health partner, and you do too. 

We are a separate organization, but the tradition is the same – a hospital association dedicated to the health of Union Pacific employees.

UPREHS Timeline

1870 Union Pacific forms a medical division to care for sick and injured railroad workers

1944 Award of Arbitration separates railroad medical plans and allows for the creation of individual hospital associations

1947 As a result of the Award of Arbitration, UPREHS becomes its own entity

1948 UPREHS establishes first provider ‘network’ in Salt Lake City with LDS and Holy Cross Hospitals

1964 A team from the Social Security Administration spends three weeks with UPREHS staff to learn about the hospital association as a model for Medicare

1976 UPREHS opens the Depot Drug mail order pharmacy in Ogden

1995 UPREHS scales down the clinic system in favor of a managed care health plan with First Health—offering members access to a national network of providers

2013 UPREHS begins using the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield network of providers for its non-Medicare members

2019 UPREHS becomes Iron Road Healthcare.

Topics: History

Written by

Tamara Castellano

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