Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, New York's largest insurer, got the green light from the state insurance department today to convert to a for-profit company, which will trade as WellChoice, but still be known as Empire. Among the state's stipulations, the new for-profit insurer would be restricted from issuing any employee or director any stock, option, warrants or stock appreciation rights for one year after the conversion. Empire already has filed its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in preparation for an initial public offering. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago, approved the conversion a few weeks back, an Empire official said. As part of a deal struck with the healthcare workers union, state lawmakers authorized roughly $1.8 billion over three years to subsidize healthcare workers' salaries and help in recruitment and retention. The vast majority of the money was to come from the estimated $1 billion that would be raised by Empire's IPO. -- by Cinda Becker
Empire Blues receives state's OK to go for-profit
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.