Star-Ledger

Should Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Seek For-Profit Status?

The Star-Ledger — Saturday, August 16, 2008

By Deborah Jerome

Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's largest health insurer, applied today to become a for-profit corporation, a move it says will generate at least $1 billion for the state to support insurance subsidies and public health care improvements.

Horizon's conversion would end 76 years of operating as a not-for-profit corporation. Officials of the corporation, which has 3.6 million subscribers, say the change will help them compete with other insurers by allowing Blue Cross to raise funds through stock sales.

Critics say the conversion will end up harming consumers by cutting down their insurance options and by creating shareholder pressure on Blue Cross to eliminate unprofitable coverage for the poor and other vulnerable populations.

What do you think?

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