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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications
518.465.7511

September 16, 2001

Update on status of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield operations

Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield has accounted for 1,905 of 1,914 employees who worked at its World Trade Center Offices. Four employees remain hospitalized, the firm reported late Friday.

"We continue to do everything possible to verify the whereabouts of the nine employees who are still unaccounted for," Michael A. Stocker, chief executive officer of the firm, said Friday.

Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which insures 4 million New Yorkers, lost its corporate headquarters in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Stocker asked that the firm's employees continue to call a toll-free number established for information about their colleagues, and to find out the most current information. The number is 866-761-8265. Employees can also access important company information by logging on to our website at www.empireblue.com.

The firm's customer service phone lines are open and functional during normal business hours, and claims are being processed, he added.

Members with questions should call the toll-free telephone number listed on the back of their member identification card, he said. Members can also get information about their claims and conduct other administrative business with Empire by registering at www.empireblue.com.

Stocker also encouraged the firm's providers to log on to the website for the latest information as well as to check claims status, verify patient eligibility, or to precertify services.

The electronic connection between Empire and the other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans nationwide,"Bluesnet," has been restored.

The firm previously had reported that it is continuing to operate from other locations and process claims. Claims submitted electronically are being processed normally. But the firm anticipates processing delays for paper claims received prior to Sept. 6. Paper claims that were mailed after that date should be resubmitted.