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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Makes Major Investment in Next Generation Health Care for New Jersey.

State's oldest and largest health insurer to create a new company to energize transformation of health care in New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. -- Most health care experts agree that, despite federal health care reform, a great deal of work remains to be done to improve the nation's health care system. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) announced today it plans to spearhead that work in New Jersey by creating a new company with a mission to energize the transformation of health care delivery to a better system marked by higher quality and more effective care, greater collaboration and efficiency, and increased affordability.

As one of the first Blue Cross plans in the nation, Horizon BCBSNJ was a pioneer in the creation of health insurance. Horizon BCBSNJ's new company will tap that same pioneering spirit to develop innovative collaborative models for the delivery and financing of high quality care in New Jersey.

"As the state's oldest and largest health insurer, Horizon BCBSNJ is in the best position to initiate collaborative partnerships between the many stakeholders who are working to improve the quality of health care and bring cost increases down to a sustainable level," said William J. Marino, Chairman and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ. "We believe that creating a new company is the best way to bring energy, focus, and commitment to improving the delivery and financing of health care, a goal we share with many of our colleagues throughout the health care system."

The new company is expected to be operational in September, but Horizon Healthcare Innovations (HHI) has already begun work as a division of Horizon BCBSNJ. HHI is already working on creating partnerships with providers, employers, and health care leaders to develop new models of care that will provide patients with better quality care, increase efficiencies, and contain costs.

"Everyone in New Jersey's health care system understands that we cannot continue to experience spiraling costs and below average rankings across quality of care measures," said Dr. Richard Popiel, who served as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Horizon BCBSNJ and will lead the new company as President and Chief Operating Officer. "We're committed to leading a major collaborative effort among physicians, hospitals, policy makers, employers, patients, and insurers to rethink how we deliver quality care and control costs."

Horizon BCBSNJ decided this was an opportune time to establish a new company to address the quality and cost issues left out of the recently passed federal health care reform law. A number of provisions of the new law will increase health care costs and result in higher insurance premiums. The new law will add to the financial burden of many individuals and employers, who are already struggling with rising health care costs.

Horizon BCBSNJ also believes there is a significant opportunity to improve heath care quality across the state. A 2009 Commonwealth Fund study ranked New Jersey 30th in the nation for quality of care based on measures such as prevention, treatment and avoidable hospital use and costs.

"Our goal is to energize collaborative partnerships and ignite the flames of transformation that will benefit the entire health care system - individuals, families, businesses, and providers," added Dr. Popiel. "The time is right for innovation and rethinking how care is delivered and financed because people are focused on our health care challenges and they know we need to act. Horizon is making a major investment and we're ready to act."

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer, is a not-for-profit health services corporation. Horizon BCBSNJ serves over 3.6 million members and is headquartered in Newark with offices in Wall, Mt. Laurel, and West Trenton.

Horizon BCBSNJ provides a wide variety of health and dental insurance products and services, including Medicare and Medicaid products, for businesses and individuals. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 23, 2010
Words:748
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