Legislation could jeopardize Horizon's BCBS brand, national association says

The latest action by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to introduce legislation adding more state control over its largest insurer — whose reserves he has been eyeing since February — is threatening the very existence of the company.

In a letter sent Thursday morning to state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus), the president of the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Scott Serota, threatened that the state’s actions could lead to Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey losing its BCBS brand.

Serota said the bill goes beyond what is typically required by other states and endangers license agreements used to safeguard the insurer’s ability to compete in the marketplace.

“Should the (Department of Banking and Insurance) commissioner revoke Horizon’s State Certificate of Authority or BCBSA determine that Horizon was no longer independent and that the state was now in control of the company, it would have severe and immediate implications under BCBSA’s licensure rules. Horizon’s BCBSA license rights would automatically terminate, causing significant harm and disruption to Horizon policyholders and network providers,” Serota wrote in the letter.