At a time when many health insurance companies are having difficulty, the 50-year-old Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Utah had one of its most significant years ever in 1988, according to Jed H. Pitcher, president.

The company had net income after taxes of $797,000, which was more than a $6.5 million turnaround from 1987 when the company had a $5.7 million loss. Total gross revenue for 1988 was $215 million.Pitcher said 1988 was a difficult year for many health insurers in America, and most didn't have the financial rebound that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Utah did. "The top 10 commercial health insurers in America lost a combined total of $818 million in 1988," he said.

Two of the company's subsidiaries, ValueCare and HealthWise, had positive operations in 1988. "Not only did we make a tremendous turnaround financially, but we also experienced a record growth in membership in nearly all aspects of our operations," Pitcher said.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Utah had a net growth of 22,000 members last year, bringing the total to 369,000. Including Medicare coverage, the company serves more than 500,000 Utahns.