Overview of Empire BlueCross BlueShield
Founded in 1934 in New York City, Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year. Today Empire is the largest health insurance provider in New York State, serving more than 5.5 million New Yorkers through nearly 50,000 employers, unions, government and individual health insurance plans.
A member health plan of WellPoint Inc., Empire’s membership includes more than 2.5 million members covered under union contracts or health and welfare trusts.
The historic leader in providing individual coverage in New York, many of the consumer protections being considered across the country are safeguards enjoyed by New Yorkers for over a decade. This is in part due to Empire’s leadership and collaboration with elected officials, consumer and community groups to establish protections such as guaranteed issue (providing coverage regardless of health status), community rating (which reduces rate volatility for small businesses and individuals) and third party physician specialist reviews for coverage decisions that involve complicated medical cases.
Empire routinely receives customer satisfaction scores exceeding 90 percent and has a reputation for consistently being among the lowest administrative cost health plans in the state, for both profit or not-for-profit plans. Empire also consistently ranks highly with external sources such as National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and U.S. News & World Report Best Health Plans Annual Report.
Empire offers consumers employer groups and unions the broadest selection of physician and hospital choices and product option diversity, not only in New York but nationwide through the Blue Cross Blue Shield “Blue Card” network. Collectively, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield System provides healthcare coverage for 102 million people – or one-in-three Americans.
Empire identifies opportunities to enhance benefit programs for it’s customers by focusing on continuous improvements in service and quality management in partnership with local physicians and hospitals as well as integrating new technology.
Empire offers a full range of health insurance products including Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO), Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Point of Service (POS), specialty and senior products. In addition, Empire also offers a full range of complementary specialty insurance products that offer groups and individuals complete security, including:
- Group plans
- Individual plans
- Medicare Supplemental plans
- Medicare Advantage plans
- Behavioral health
- Life Insurance
- Disability coverage
Empire’s New York Economic Impact
- Empire serves over 5.5 million New Yorkers and their families
- Empire employs more than 4,200 associates in New York
- Disciplined financial management by Empire and its parent company provides security and solid reserves to cover routine services and coverage in a disaster such as pandemic flu, hurricane, terrorist acts or other extraordinary events.
- Empire uses its scale to keep admin costs among the lowest in the state. Lower overall medical costs for insured customers and fair & prompt payment to hospitals and physicians at a level that helps hospital stability in an environment where government payments are unable to cover costs.
Empire’s Community Support
In 2008, Empire and its associates and affiliated foundation provided nearly $3 million dollars to dozens of New York support organizations, including the following (just to name a few):
- 100 Black Men of New York
- 1 in 9 Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition
- AIDS Walk New York
- American Cancer Society
- American Diabetes Association
- American Red Cross of Greater New York
- Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health
- Asian American Federation
- Committee for Hispanic Children & Families
- Community Caregivers (Albany)
- Guiding Eyes for the Blind
- Jewish Community Relationship Council
- March of Dimes
- Muscular Dystrophy Association
- New York Academy of Medicine
- New York Department of Health Primary Information Project
- New York Road Runners Foundation
- New York University BODY Project
- North Shore Child and Family Guidance Association
- Parkinson’s Disease,
- PENCIL, Inc.
- Senior Services of Albany (Meals on Wheels)
- United Hospital Fund
- United Way
- Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk
- Visiting Nurse Services of New York
Good information is a vital component of good health.