NU Online News Service, Nov. 14, 2003, 12:23 p.m. EST – The Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield unit of WellChoice Inc., New York, says it will continue to offer Medicare health maintenance organization coverage in New York City in 2004 as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland counties.

Starting in 2004, Medicare HMO members in the New York City area will be able to see most in-network specialists without first having to get referrals from primary care physicians, Empire says.

Members in New York City will pay no premiums in 2004.

Members in Rockland and Westchester counties will pay $95 per month, and members in Nassau and Suffolk counties will pay $140 per month.