Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York, Buffalo, could become the state's second major Blues plan to convert to for-profit status, following Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which received final approval to convert last month. HealthNow, parent of the 765,000-member Western New York Blues plan, is considering taking the now not-for-profit company public to generate capital. The process would require approval from the state Legislature and insurance department and could take several years, but already consumer groups are calling for a moratorium on any conversion-related action until the state passes a law protecting the public assets HealthNow amassed through tax breaks received over 65 years as a charitable institution. The company holds cash reserves of $115 million and earned net income of $15.3 million on revenue of $1.3 billion last year. -- by Laura B. Benko
Western N.Y. Blues plan eyes for-profit conversion
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