The Buffalo-based firm says it’s closing because it couldn’t compete with large for-profit HMOs in the New York metropolitan area. William Yurkowski, executive director of Independent Health’s Hudson Valley/Metropolitan New York office, says the closure will coincide with the Feb. 28, 2001 expiration of the company’s lease at the Mack-Cali building, part of the Talleyrand office complex.

The company entered the Westchester marketplace in May 1986, taking approximately 3,500 sf at Talleyrand. It expanded its marketing efforts into the New York City’s five boroughs ten years later, but mothballed that effort in 1998 after signing up only 10,000 members.

Independent Health’s high-water mark, in terms of members, was reached in 1997 when it had approximately 42,000 subscribers. It has 15,000 now. The market-share leaders in the Hudson Valley are Aetna/US Healthcare and Oxford, which have memberships exceeding 880,000 and 1.2 million members, respectively.

In 1997, the company had more than 100 employees and expanded its presence in Westchester County to 25,000 sf. Last February, the company did not renew its lease for 10,000 sf of space at 200 White Plains Rd., Yurkowski says.

Independent Health’s Western New York office will continue operating after the Hudson Valley office closes. That office, in Buffalo, has seen its enrollment numbers grow in recently and now boasts more than 395,000 members.

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