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Penny is an expert on insurance procedures, rates, policies and claims. She has extensive knowledge of all major insurance lines -- auto, homeowners, life and health insurance. She has been answering consumers’ questions as an analyst for more than 15 years and has been featured in numerous major media outlets, including the Washington Post and Kiplinger’s.
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Horizon BCBS was formed in 1932 as Associated Hospitals, Inc. which was the first multi-hospital service plan. In 1936 the plan went statewide as the Hospital Service Plan of New Jersey.
In 1960, legislation passed that empowered the State Employees’ Health Benefits Commission to purchase basic health insurance from BCBS and in 1964 legislation passed that permitted participation by New Jersey Blue Cross and Blue Shield in national accounts.
Blue Shield started underwriting dental coverage in 1977 and in 1986 Blue Cross of New Jersey and Blue Shield of New Jersey merged to become Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, Inc.
In 1993, BCBS expanded its operations to create managed care hospital and dental networks as well as entered the Medicaid HMO market.
In 1998, the company changed its name to Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) and their membership jumped up to 2 million in NJ. In 2004, they introduced Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and had over 3 million members and nearly $1 billion in surplus. That made Horizon BCBSNJ New Jersey’s largest health insurer.
In 2013, as the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces opened up, Horizon BCBSNJ began offering insurance policies on the exchange, one of only three health insurers in New Jersey. In 2015, Horizon BCBSNJ worked with leading New Jersey health systems to create the OMNIA Health Alliance to help transform how health care is financed and delivered in New Jersey.