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New York, January 25, 1998

Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today announced that the Insurance Department will hold public hearings in Manhattan, Albany and Poughkeepsie as part of its review of a rate increase application filed by Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s HMO known as Healthnet. Empire has asked that the increases, affecting approximately 15,000 HMO and HMO point of service subscribers in its New York, Mid-Hudson and Albany regions, become effective March 1, 1998.

Empire is requesting an overall weighted average increase of 45.8%. By region, the average rate request is 46.2% in New York City, 41.8% in Mid-Hudson and 38.1% in Albany. These increases DO NOT affect Medicare supplement or small group policies.

The public hearings are scheduled as follows:

February 17 at 10:30 a.m.
Legislative Office Building
Hearing Room C
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY

New York City
February 18 at 10:00 a.m.
New York University Medical Center
Alumni A
530 First Avenue (at 30th Street)
New York, NY

February 19 at 9:30 a.m.
Mid-Hudson Library System Auditorium
105 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, NY

Individuals wishing to testify at the New York City, Albany or Pougkeepsie hearings should contact the Insurance Department so that a schedule of speakers may be prepared. The Department has established a toll-free telephone number for this purpose. This number, 1-888-880-8961, is operational between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Insurance Department will provide a reasonable accommodation at no charge to any covered individual wishing to attend or testify at the hearing when such a request is made at least seven days before the hearing.

Those unable to attend the hearings may submit written statements for inclusion in the official record within ten days following the hearing date. Written statements should be directed to: Public Affairs & Research at the New York State Insurance Department, 25 Beaver Street, New York, NY 10004.

A narrative summary of Empire’s application is available to the public through Empire’s Public Information Department at 622 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 (1-888-476-5524). The narrative is also available by contacting the Insurance Department’s special toll-free number (1-888-880-8961).

A copy of the complete subscriber rate increase application may be examined at Empire’s offices at: Law Library, 25th floor, 622 Third Avenue, Manhattan; 11 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Albany; 700 Westchester Avenue, White Plains; or 157 Deer Park Avenue, Babylon. The complete application may also be reviewed at the Insurance Department’s offices by appointment only at Health Bureau: 4th Floor, 25 Beaver Street, in Manhattan (212-480-5242) or Agency Building One, 8th floor, Empire State Plaza in Albany.

Empire’s New York region covers subscribers in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland counties. Its Mid-Hudson region covers subscribers in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties, while its Albany region covers subscribers in Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties.

Department of Financial Services


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