Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield seeks for-profit status

September 2, 2008

Independent, nonprofit Blue plans are becoming extinct

As nonprofit, regional health plans fight the good fight, they find themselves at a disadvantage when competing against the big for-profits. A proposal by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to convert to for-profit status has stirred up unrest with those who advocate for nonprofit healthcare.

The Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Health Care issued letters to the New Jersey Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance and to the state attorney general, stating that Horizon is in a positive position in its community and that independent consultants should review Horizon’s application and address “critical information gaps” in it.

Horizon is the oldest, largest nonprofit health plan in the state.

A wave of mergers in the past 15 years resulted in major consolidations among Blues plans, making the remaining Blues plans particularly attractive to large MCOs seeking to ratchet up growth. Horizon has not announced any plans to sell or merge, but continued competitive pressure could force its hand.