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Arts & Life

Executive pay and enrollment rise at local health insurer

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Enrollment has continued to grow for Rochester’s largest health insurer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

In its latest filing with the New York state financial services department, Excellus reported that it added about 40,000 new members in 2018. The company now has more than 1.5 million subscribers.

The company also took some credit for stabilizing the cost of health insurance across New York state. CEO Chris Booth pointed out in a statement that although Excellus proposed rate hikes for 2019, they were about half of the average rate increase sought by other health insurance companies in the state.

Some insurers had said they needed those increases to offset the loss of enrollment by healthy people after the Trump administration repealed a federal requirement for people to buy health insurance, known as the individual mandate.

Executive compensation increased as the pool of potential new customers shrank over the last year. Uninsured residents are down to 4% of the upstate population, according to Excellus.

The company’s top three officers each earned more than $1 million from the company in 2018, with the top earner, CEO Booth, pulling in $2.9 million – 24 percent more than he earned last year.

Excellus said that compensation is set by the board of directors “on the basis of market-based data and performance,” the company said in a statement released to area news outlets.

“Performance in 2018 was solid,” board chair Thomas Rattmann said.

Excellus reported a net income of $150 million in 2018, though in a fact sheet sent out to area news outlets, Excellus said while it is a nonprofit, “it is not a charity.” Excellus says it paid out $500 million in federal and state taxes.

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