Unable to find an acceptable suitor for HIP Health Plan of New Jersey, state officials are liquidating the deeply indebted HMO they seized late last year.

About 144,000 commercial subscribers have until the end of this month to find new coverage. Another 21,000 HIP Medicaid enrollees have been transferred to another HMO, which the state has not named. New Jersey regulators had previously rejected HIP of New York's takeover proposal as "speculative."

Meanwhile, in Texas, a state judge placed 17,000-member WellChoice Health Plan in receivership after it lost nearly $6 million in 1997 and 1998. The state later approved a bid by PacifiCare of Texas to absorb WellChoice's subscribers.