Excellus reduces administrative costs; net income rises

Mar 2, 2017

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the area’s largest HMO, has reported its financial results for last year.

The company saw net income of  nearly $100 million, which was higher than last year. Officials say that income number is 1.7 percent of its overall $6 billion in premium revenues for 2016.

Officials say administrative costs to run the business declined for the second year in a row.

CEO for Excellus, Christopher Booth said in a statement that, “It’s critical for our plan to achieve a margin so that our business can be financially healthy for the security of our members.”

Spokesman Jim Redmond says Excellus paid nearly $105 million in taxes due to the Affordable Care Act. As far as any changes that might be coming because of the new administration in Washington, Redmond says it’s too early to say what the impact would be on Excellus.

“The thing to keep in mind too is, a lot of what is in the ACA is already incorporated into laws and regulations for New York State, so even if Washington changes, Albany is not mandated to follow along. So there’s a lot of uncertainty and like everyone else, we’re watching and waiting," Redmond told WXXI News.

Excellus paid out more than $5 billion in medical benefits for its members last year. That included a nearly eleven percent increase in spending for prescriptions for each customer who had drug coverage.

Redmond says the top categories of payments paid out from medical claims for Excellus last year were services related to cancer treatments, joint disorders and preventive care services.

He says the increase in prescription costs is due likely to a combination of higher prices from the pharmaceutical companies as well as some clients using more of their prescription coverage.

“There’s been large increases in the area, for example, of diabetes medications. Everybody saw what happened with the EpiPens and that sort of thing, but I don’t have a breakdown on how much of it is increased costs versus increased utilization.”

Compensation paid to the top officials at Excellus was similar to last year. They include the CEO, Christopher Booth, who was paid just over $2 million, a little higher than last year; Chief Financial Officer Dorothy Coleman, who was paid just over $1 million and Chief Administrative Officer and general counsel, Stephen Sloan, who was paid just over $854,000.