Legislation enabling New Jersey’s largest health insurer to take advantage of innovations and medical advances for its members while still retaining its charitable mission along with stabilizing premiums was passed by the full Senate and Assembly Thursday, 23-16 and 53-25-1 respectively.
The bill (A-5119) allows Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of New Jersey to form a not-for-profit mutual holding company that can make critical investments while still insuring members under a health insurance subsidiary.
“Right now, the company is limited in the ways it can stay competitive to benefit its 3.6 million members. We must allow this organization to adapt its infrastructure so that it can make the investments it needs to in order to offer stable rates, promote innovative health care services and meet the evolving needs of its members – all while maintaining its charitable mission,” said Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris).
If reorganized, Horizon BCBS would continue to be under the supervision of the Department of Banking and Insurance, with expansive oversight by the state Attorney General.
Upon establishment of the not-for-profit mutual holding company, Horizon BCBS would be required to pay a one-time, initial assessment of $600 million to the State Treasury and pay an additional $625 million to the state over seventeen years after its reorganization.
The bipartisan bill, which is also sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Robert Clifton (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean), now heads to the Governor.