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Excellus net income declined 43 percent to $97 million in pandemic-impacted 2020

By Eric Reinhardt (


Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central New York’s largest health insurer, on Friday reported net income of more than $97 million on $6.2 billion in premium revenue in 2020. The Rochester–based health insurer operates an office in DeWitt. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central New York’s largest health insurer, reported net income of $97.2 million on $6.2 billion in premium revenue in 2020.

Excellus’ net income fell 43 percent last year from the $171 million it generated in 2019.

The Rochester–based nonprofit insurer disclosed the figures in an annual financial report filed with the New York State Department of Financial Services.

The 2020 results amount to a net income of $68.40 per member for the entire year, down from $113.87 in 2019, Excellus said in a Friday news release.

“No one has ever faced a year like 2020,” Christopher Booth, CEO of Excellus, said. “The COVID-19 crisis required a strong and comprehensive response to assure our members were able to receive the care they needed and to help assure the health care system itself would survive. The pandemic devastated the economy and sickened tens of thousands of upstate residents.”

Excellus’ reserves stood at $1.2 billion at the end of 2020, or the equivalent of 70 days of claims and expenses. Reserves are like a savings account to be drawn upon for unforeseen higher expenses such as a pandemic or lower revenue, the insurer said.

“The health plan spent more than $5 billion, or an average $14.2 million every day, covering the health-care cost for our 1.5 million members,” Christopher Gorecki, Excellus CFO said.

The health plan’s total membership grew by more than 13,000 during 2020, representing the fourth consecutive year in which membership has grown, Excellus said. Total membership now totals more than 1.5 million.

Excellus also noted that it paid $530.5 million in federal and state taxes in 2020. Those taxes included $112 million for the federal tax to pay for the Affordable Care Act, which had been suspended for 2019 but reinstated for 2020.

Excellus says it also addressed community needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic through financial support last year.

The support included $102 million to pay for increased telemedicine coverage and increased provider reimbursement rates. It also included more than $40 million in cash advances to providers approved beyond the normal $192 million in advances, $1 million in grants to hospitals for COVID-19 testing supplies and personal protective equipment, and $250,000 in grants to hospitals for COVID-19 testing machines.


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