The Star-Ledger

N.J. Lawmakers Want Hard Look At Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield For-Profit Shift

The Star-Ledger — Wednesday, June 10, 2009

By The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk

TRENTON —The Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee will meet Thursday to consider legislation to require increased public participation and independent analysis when a health insurer seeks to convert to a for-profit company.

The bill comes as the state's largest insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, seeks to convert to a for-profit company. The legislation proposes more public hearings and an independent study examining the health impact of the proposed conversion.

"This bill simply ensures sufficient public participation and that every issue has been carefully reviewed before a decision is reached on a conversion application," Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-Englewood) one of the bill's sponsors, said. "We need extra caution when moving forward on issues that could, among other things, increase premium costs and influence the health care of so many New Jerseyans."

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the State House Annex.

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