$1B fund in wings – Estimate doubles

Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield says it will create a $1 billion charitable foundation if it is allowed to restructure itself as a for-profit firm owned by investors, The New York Times reported April 3.

The foundation would be more than twice as big as Blue Cross has estimated in the past.

Investment bankers at Credit Suisse First Boston, in a letter April 2, valued Empire at $1 billion to $1.2 billion, the Times said.

Empire says the foundation it will create could deliver health care to 100,000 uninsured youngsters or buy prescription drugs for 50,000 low-income elderly people.

The conversion, needing the okay of state lawmakers, has prompted opposition from foes who say that as a commercial insurer Empire would act on behalf of stockholders at the expense of policyholders, patients and care-providers, the Times said.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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