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Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield Review

Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield Ratings and Company Information

Company Rating:
Best Insurance Reports: 68564
Best Rating: A

Type of Insurance Company: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Name of Parent Company:
Wellpoint

Company Overview:
Company History: Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield provides coverage to about 5 million people in a market that includes the New York City metropolitan counties and selected counties in upstate New York. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield became part of the publicly traded corporation (WellPoint, Inc.) after the 2004 merger between Anthem, Inc. and Wellpoint Health Networks, Inc. That merger resulted in the formation of Wellpoint, Inc. Subsequently, WellPoint, Inc. acquired WellChoice (in 2005) which does business as Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Both Anthem and WellPoint Health Networks, Inc. had been known for rapid growth by successive mergers and acquisitions and subsequent aggressive growth of the acquired companies – a pattern which the surviving company is continuing to follow. The history of the organization can be traced to the 1980’s when for-profit insurers started winning business away from the non-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. As a result, some Blues combined and started using medical history data to differentiate offerings to customers instead of having one deal for all potential buyers. The most aggressive of these organizations converted to for-profit investor-owned companies and grew by adding other like minded Blues. WellPoint is a result of such activities. It now covers a third of the 100 million Blues customers.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans grew out of a Texas project to provide hospital care to teachers and a physician care plan for lumber and mine workers in the Pacific Northwest. The 39 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans today cover more than 99 million people in 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield returned to its downtown Manhattan headquarters location in the summer of 2007 after being forced to move to a temporary midtown location when its World Trade Center offices were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Wellpoint, through its various subsidiaries offers health benefits through network-based managed care plans to large and small employers, individuals, Medicaid patients and seniors. In addition to PPOs, HMOs, POS plans, traditional indemnity plans, hybrid plans, consumer driven health plans, hospital only plans and limited benefit plans Wellpoint also provides managed care services, including claims processing, underwriting, actuarial services and other administrative services to self funded customer plans. Wellpoint also provides specialty products and services that include pharmacy benefit management, dental and vision plans and provides administrative services for the Medicare program.

Marketing of products is conducted through a network of independent agents and brokers as well as through in-house sales representatives.

Principle Sales Methods: Marketing of products is conducted through a network of independent agents and brokers as well as through in-house sales representatives.

Health Business: Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield provides coverage to about 5 million people in a market that includes the New York City metropolitan counties and selected counties in upstate New York. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield became part of the publicly traded corporation (WellPoint, Inc.) after the 2004 merger between Anthem, Inc. and Wellpoint Health Networks, Inc. That merger resulted in the formation of Wellpoint, Inc. Subsequently, WellPoint, Inc. acquired WellChoice (in 2005) which does business as Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Both Anthem and WellPoint Health Networks, Inc. had been known for rapid growth by successive mergers and acquisitions and subsequent aggressive growth of the acquired companies – a pattern which the surviving company is continuing to follow. The history of the organization can be traced to the 1980’s when for-profit insurers started winning business away from the non-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. As a result, some Blues combined and started using medical history data to differentiate offerings to customers instead of having one deal for all potential buyers. The most aggressive of these organizations converted to for-profit investor-owned companies and grew by adding other like minded Blues. WellPoint is a result of such activities. It now covers a third of the 100 million Blues customers.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans grew out of a Texas project to provide hospital care to teachers and a physician care plan for lumber and mine workers in the Pacific Northwest. The 39 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans today cover more than 99 million people in 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield returned to its downtown Manhattan headquarters location in the summer of 2007 after being forced to move to a temporary midtown location when its World Trade Center offices were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Wellpoint, through its various subsidiaries offers health benefits through network-based managed care plans to large and small employers, individuals, Medicaid patients and seniors. In addition to PPOs, HMOs, POS plans, traditional indemnity plans, hybrid plans, consumer driven health plans, hospital only plans and limited benefit plans Wellpoint also provides managed care services, including claims processing, underwriting, actuarial services and other administrative services to self funded customer plans. Wellpoint also provides specialty products and services that include pharmacy benefit management, dental and vision plans and provides administrative services for the Medicare program.

Marketing of products is conducted through a network of independent agents and brokers as well as through in-house sales representatives.

Company Financial Status:
Ticker Symbol: WLP
Assets & Premiums: Wellpoint's 2006 revenues totaled $57.0 billion and its assets at the end of 2006 were $51.8 billion.

Lines of Insurance:
Health

States licensed to sell insurance in:
NY

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