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Excellus’ net income rose 14 percent in 2019 to $171 million

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central New York’s largest health insurer, on Friday reported net income of nearly $171 million, on $6 billion in premium revenue, in 2019. 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 nearly $171 million, on $6 billion in premium revenue, in 2019.

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

Excellus’ net income rose about 14 percent last year from the $150 million it reported in 2018, based on CNYBJ calculations.

The net-income figure includes investment income, which amounted to nearly $126 million before taxes, Excellus said in a Friday news release.

About 88 percent of premium revenue was spent on medical benefits, Excellus noted.

Excellus called it a “solid” financial performance in 2019. The company also reported “another year of membership growth — contributing to the region’s low uninsured rate.”

“Our total membership grew by more than 8,400 new members during 2019,” Christopher Booth, CEO of Excellus, said. “This is the third consecutive year membership has grown.”

The health insurer’s membership is now more than 1.5 million.

Excellus’ operating income declined by about $14 million, or about 13 percent, to $91.4 million. The nonprofit cited reduced premium for experience-rated coverage and cuts in the Medicaid rates for safety net products as reasons for the decline.

Health plan reserves totaled $1.4 billion at the end of 2019 or the equivalent of 88 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 health insurer noted.

“The health plan spends an average $14.4 million every day covering the health care costs for 1.5 million members,” Christopher Gorecki, Excellus CFO, said.

The health insurer also noted that it paid $403.4 million in federal and state taxes in 2019.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com