CODE BLUE AT OXFORD

A COMPUTER GLITCH AND A QUARTERLY LOSS TRIGGER BLOODLETTING AT WHAT HAD BEEN THE HEALTHIEST HMO

Even against the backdrop of last week's staggering market slide, the dive of Oxford Health Plans' stock was spectacular. Oxford, long considered the healthiest managed-care organization in the U.S. and the envy of the industry, went into cardiac arrest when an unexpectedly poor earnings forecast sent its stock crashing more than 62%, from $68 to $26--the worst performance in a day that saw some beauts.

What went wrong? Just about everything. Three days earlier, the Connecticut-based HMO discovered that it was hemorrhaging money through a computer glitch that had caused the company to overestimate its membership enrollment and miscalculate the costs...