After a long bout of financial trouble, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield said it boosted reserves and cut losses on its insurance operations in 1995.
In a report filed last week with the New York State Department of Insurance, Empire said it increased reserves by $71.8 million in 1995, compared with a loss of $22.6 million the previous year, for total reserves of $280.4 million.
The New York-based insurer managed to cut its underwriting losses by 6.8% to $97 million last year.
Empire said a mere 1% of its business-individuals who buy extended medical coverage-accounts for 70% of the underwriting loss.
"Empire is out of the danger zone and on the road to recovery," declared Michael A. Stocker, M.D., who became Empire's president and chief executive officer in November 1994.
"Our financial results demonstrate that the past is behind us and that our business plan is working."
Since joining the troubled insurer, Stocker has focused on slashing costs, eliminating unprofitable insurance products and moving more aggressively into managed care. Empire's business is still 90% fee-for-service.
With some enrollees defecting to competing plans, enrollment declined 12.2% to 4.8 million in 1995. Deborah Bohren, a spokeswoman for the plan, said Empire's goal is be financially strong and competitive.
"The decline in membership is not necessarily bad," she said.