Rochester, NY

Excellus BCBS issues $21 million in premium refund credits as part of its COVID-19 pandemic response

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is issuing $17.6 million in medical premium refund credits to about 700 large group employer and union-sponsored plans that are prospectively rated as part of its comprehensive community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes one month after the health insurer issued $3.4 million in premium refund credits to employer groups who offered the plan’s dental coverage.

“Keeping health care affordable is our mission as a non-profit insurer and it starts with not collecting more than we need to pay claims and run the business,” said Christopher C. Booth, CEO of Excellus BCBS. “When upstate New York went into lockdown and elective medical care decreased, our claims payments also declined. We are returning a portion of the premium.”

The medical premium credit will appear on the bills being sent out in November. 

The dental premium refund was credited on the groups’ October invoice.

To date, the health plan has spent or expects to spend more than $300 million this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has taken the form of COVID-19 related claims and expanded coverage during the state of emergency, reductions in the administrative burden for health care providers, distribution of personal protective equipment for employers and providers, and contributions to food banks and food pantries throughout the health plan’s upstate service territory. 

“Our priority continues to be taking care of the customer and making sure members have access to the care they need,” Booth said. “Our claim volumes have returned to normal levels given the demand for elective procedures and routine care that may have been put off during the quarantine. We are also still bracing for a possible second wave in COVID-19 related costs. We hope it doesn’t come but we are prepared if it does.”  

For the latest information on the health plan’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit

Jim Redmond, (585) 238-4579,

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit

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