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Horizon BCBSNJ and State Agree on Bill that Benefits Members

July 6, 2017

Applies to: All markets

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey prides itself on providing strength, stability and peace of mind to our 3.6 million members. However, our ability to continue to do so was recently threatened by the overreaching language of New Jersey State Senate bill S-4. Since Governor Chris Christie’s stated intent in February to raid our members’ reserves and restructure Horizon BCBSNJ, we have consistently maintained that we would only agree to legislation that is reasonable, avoids higher costs for our members, and does not impose unfair or excessive obligations. That was a threshold S-4 failed to meet.

Horizon BCBSNJ worked tirelessly with a wide array of thought and community leaders across New Jersey to educate and inform the public on the harm S-4 would cause to our members and to the health delivery system in New Jersey. S-4 would have inappropriately, and likely illegally, allowed an arbitrary raid of our members’ reserves to fund what are traditionally government obligations. However, support in the communities we serve and in the Assembly prevented S-4 from advancing beyond the Senate.

Thanks to that support, and the support of members, the broker community, unions and community and advocacy groups, Horizon BCBSNJ was able to work with the Legislature and agree on a revised bill, New Jersey State Senate bill S-2, on July 3, 2017.

The legislation as passed allows Horizon BCBSNJ to continuously deliver on its mission to provide affordable, quality products and services to its members. You may be interested in how the revised bill (S-2) differs from the original bill (S-4). Below are some key differences:

S-4 S-2
Named Horizon BCBSNJ as the “insurer of last resort.” No “insurer of last resort” designation.
Allowed the Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) commissioner to annually determine if Horizon BCBSNJ’s reserves are “excessive.” Permits the DOBI to annually examine the capital reserves and to confirm that Horizon BCBSNJ operates in a reasonable range established as between 550% to 725% of risk-based capital ratio.
Required “excessive reserve” funds to go to the State of New Jersey. Requires reserves over the 725% cap to be returned to Horizon BCBSNJ policyholders.
Changed Horizon BCBSNJ’s mission to state that Horizon BCBSNJ “exists for the benefit of its subscribers, potential subscribers and the general public.” Reaffirms that Horizon BCBSNJ operates for the benefit of its subscribers.
Added three directors – to be elected by Horizon BCBSNJ subscribers – to Horizon BCBSNJ’s Board of Directors. Adds two directors to Horizon BCBSNJ’s board: one appointed by the Senate President and one appointed by the Assembly Speaker.

For 85 years, Horizon BCBSNJ has provided our members and their families with access to high-quality care and peace of mind. We look forward to continuing that tradition.

If you have questions, please contact your Horizon BCBSNJ sales executive or account manager.

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Published on: July 11, 2017, 02:27 a.m. ET
Last updated on: July 11, 2017, 02:39 a.m. ET