Assemblyman Erik Peterson criticized a proposal to raid Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield’s reserve funds and released the following statement:
“Basic fiscal prudence requires setting money aside for unexpected emergencies like an epidemic or natural disaster like Super Storm Sandy. That is exactly what insurance companies like Horizon do, but now the state wants to raid those reserves to pay for unaffordable public programs.
“Raiding those reserves will raise the cost of health insurance as if it were a tax increase. How much more can taxpayers afford? You would think that at some point the state would learn from past mistakes. What better example of New Jersey’s inability to provide services at a reasonable price than road construction costs, and NJ Transit. When government gets involved the problem gets worse.
“If there is an excess surplus it should be returned to ratepayers and not used to expand government programs. It is the ratepayer’s money, not the State’s. Like any other service, if you overpay you are entitled to receive a credit. I’m not sure why that wouldn’t apply in this scenario as well?
“You can bet lawmakers would mandate companies to maintain reserves and call for an investigation if one couldn’t pay people’s medical expenses”.
Horizon released figures showing it keeps a 75-day claim reserve to protect customers from future unexpected medical events. The Governor noted that the excess reserves held by Horizon are for health emergencies.