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Univera parent reports $58 million net income for 2015

The parent company of Univera Healthcare reported $57.9 million in net income last year, more than double its earnings from the year before, according to the company’s annual filing with state regulators released on Wednesday.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield of Rochester earned net income of 1 percent on premium revenue of $5.9 billion last year, one year after earning $24.2 million in net income. The nonprofit insurer had an operating income in 2015 of $23.4 million, after posting an operating loss of $55.3 million in 2014.

Company officials attributed the improved financial performance to a decline in hospital and medical expenses, which can fluctuate and serve as the narrow difference between reporting earnings or losses.

“I think we ended where our expectations were,” said Arthur G. Wingerter, president of Amherst-based Univera. “It’s razor-thin, as demonstrated from prior years.”

Revenues fell by $20.9 million between 2014 and 2015, but expenses fell further, by $73.8 million, to $5.15 billion last year.

The bulk of that drop came in hospital and medical expenses, an area to which Wingerter said Univera and Excellus pay close attention, benchmarking its spending to other insurers in the state and nationally.

Some of the decline could have come from something as simple as the mild November and December winter weather in Excellus’ Upstate New York market, Wingerter said, producing fewer cases of flu and respiratory infections, slips on ice and injuries caused by shoveling show.

The company did continue to lose money on its government sponsored insurance programs, however, with $35.8 million in losses on its Medicare Advantage program – up from $31.9 million in 2014 – and $2.5 million in losses on its managed Medicaid program, an improvement from the $23.4 million in losses in 2014.

“Medicare and Medicaid continue to be challenging,” Wingerter said. Univera exited the managed Medicaid program as of Aug. 1 in Western New York, though Excellus remains in the program in the rest of its territory, he said.

Excellus, which does not break out financial information for Univera, has seen its membership decline each year since 2012. Fully insured membership fell 7 percent between 2014 and 2015 to 1.24 million, a figure that does not include its self-insured customer base.

The regulatory filing also detailed the insurer’s payments to its top executives.

Excellus paid its president and CEO, Christopher C. Booth, $1.92 million and its executive vice president and chief financial officer, Dorothy A. Coleman, $1.06 million last year. Excellus said compensation to top officers is set by the board of directors based on market data and company performance.

Wingerter, the company’s highest-ranking official in its Amherst offices, earned $416,789.