Empire Blue Cross Lists 9 Workers as Still Missing

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Nine of the 1,914 employees who worked for Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield at One World Trade Center in New York were reported as still unaccounted for yesterday while four workers remained hospitalized as a result of the terrorist attacks.

"We are continuing the process of recovery," CEO Michael A. Stocker said in a message on the company's employee message hotline Sept. 14 that was re-recorded the following day. "Customer service claims payments ... are all functional ... although there may be delays."

While the corporate headquarters have been relocated to Melville, NY, Stocker said that a decision has been made to have a corporate headquarters presence in midtown Manhattan. That decision was to be re-evaluated yesterday. The size of the headquarters operation and who would be located there had not been decided.

In addition to saying that some employees have lost their housing or cannot return to their homes in lower Manhattan, he listed the missing as Edward Beyea, Vivian Casalduc, Cynthia Giugliano, Elvira Granitto, Winston Grant, Ramon Grijalvo, Jerome Lohez, Angela Sheinberg and Abraham Zelmanowitz.

Those mentioned on the tape as being in New York-area hospitals include Grace Rivera, Eddie Rivera, Rhona Pratt and Kenneth Summer.

A statement from Stocker that appeared on the company's Web site dated Sept. 14 said that the electronic connection between Empire and other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans nationwide, known as Bluesnet, had been restored.

A Sept. 12 statement said that "group account and membership information, financial data and administrative systems data is housed at a remote facility and was not affected by the events of yesterday.

"The majority of our customer service and claims processing operations are located at our facilities in Albany, Melville and Middletown, NY, and they are in operation. Our primary customer service phone lines are operational, although callers will experience delays."

Processing delays are not anticipated for paper claims received by Empire before Sept. 6. Paper claims mailed after that date should be resubmitted. Customer service and claims processing for Medicare Part A and B are handled at facilities in Bohemia, Yorktown and Syracuse, NY; Harrisburg, PA; and Middletown, CT. They are operational.

Two days of incoming mail - Sept. 10 and 11 - have been lost.


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