Horizon BCBSNJ celebrates 85 years in the Garden State

Bob Marino is one of New Jersey’s most decorated corporate leaders. He’s landed on high on the NJBIZ lists for New Jersey’s most powerful people in business and healthcare.  He was just inducted into Junior Achievement’s NJ Business Hall of Fame.  Under his watch, his company, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, was rated as the country’s “Best Insurance Company” by Insure.com. In recent years, the company has been recognized nationally for being a welcoming employer for working mothers, veterans and talented workers of every cultural background.

bob-marino-external-useBut when it comes to bringing attention to all that he has accomplished as Horizon’s Chairman and CEO, Bob Marino is simply not a big fan of fanfare. That is, unless it’s the company that is the subject of the celebration.

Such was the case on April 11, when Mr. Marino joined with his employees in unfurling a banner from atop the company’s Newark headquarters lobby, commemorating Horizon’s 85 years of doing business in New Jersey.

Horizon BCBSNJ was founded in 1932—in the midst of the Great Depression—as one of the very first health insurance companies and Blue Cross plans in the nation. The first policies sold by Associated Hospitals of Essex County, Inc., as the company was then known, cost $10 a year for 21 days of in-patient hospital care.

“New Jersey is one of the birthplaces of health insurance, and our company made it possible to provide people with security during one of the most insecure economic times of our country’s history,” Marino said. “Providing security, peace of mind and serving our policy-holders with excellence were the hallmarks of our heritage, and they remain the guiding principles of our company today.”

The 85-year milestone has special meaning to Mr. Marino, who was born in Newark.  That’s because for eight-and-a-half decades, Horizon has called the city of Newark its home.  To Horizon, “home improvement” is not a name for a television series or part of a hardware store slogan; it’s a code of conduct.

Horizon has for decades invested in the people, places and things that make Newark great. The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey – the corporate philanthropy arm of the company that Mr. Marino chairs, has provided more than $13 million in grants to non-profit organizations based in Newark and Essex County, including the Newark Boys Chorus School, Newark Boys and Girls Club, Covenant House, NJPAC, St. Benedict’s Prep, the Newark Museum, the Newark Y and the Ironbound Community Corporation.

The community organizations Horizon supports are rebuilding downtowns, redeveloping the waterfront and keeping the city’s parks beautiful.

But for Mr. Marino, giving is far more than just writing a check: “Horizon has been enriched in many ways through the relationships we have developed with organizations that are preparing urban residents to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Through the intern relations the company has built with Junior Achievement, Christ the King Preparatory School, NJ LEEP, INROADS, Cristo Rey and other organizations, hundreds of young people from inner city roots are gaining valuable on-the job work skills while helping Horizon deliver service excellence to its members.

The company’s approach to giving back is also part of Horizon’s employee culture. The company has formalized a program that encourages workers to donate their time and talents to the communities in which they live and work. They use their volunteer time to help out at local food pantries, clean up the Jersey Shore, plant trees in urban parks, build playgrounds and participate in fund-raising causes like the MuckFest.

The company is committed to ensuring that the men, women and children who have placed their trust in Horizon BCBSNJ receive high quality care, have a positive health care experience and know that their care is delivered in a coordinated and cost-efficient manner.marino-in-crowd

“Those three values are commonly referred to as the ‘triple aim’ of health care, “ Marino explains, “And Horizon is collaborating with thousands of physicians, hospitals and specialist doctors to achieve this aim through value-based, patient-centered programs. When they do, the providers are rewarded for the value of the care, not just the volume of care, they deliver to our members.”

This approach contrasts sharply with the traditional fee-for-service system, which bases payment not on positive patient outcomes, but on the number of tests doctors and hospitals order and services they render. Marino explains that the fee-for-service system is not sustainable and commends the five health systems and a large multispecialty physician group for partnering with Horizon to form the OMNIA Health Alliance and change the status quo.

Today, about 1.4 million Horizon members are receiving this care through one of these value-based programs

Eighty-five years after buying their first policies, New Jerseyans continue to turn to Horizon for peace of mind, access to large networks of doctors and hospitals and service excellence. Horizon BCBSNJ is the market leader in New Jersey, and has achieved its status by responding to the needs of its business and individual customers. OMNIA Health plans, which feature lower premiums than Horizon’s broad network products, and lower out of pocket costs, are one example of how Horizon is providing relief to consumers from the crushing expense of healthcare.

Horizon is proud of the impact it is making in the communities it serves; its efforts to transform health care and being New Jersey’s “home team insurance company.” Here’s to another 85 years of serving the Garden State.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, and prescription insurance products and services to more than 3.8 million members. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The Horizon® name and symbols are registered marks and OMNIASM is a service mark of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. © 2017 Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Three Penn Plaza East, Newark, New Jersey 07105.

Tom Vincz is PR Manager for Horizon BCBSNJ.

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