Tag Archive: Horizon

Horizon gave out $24 million in pay and bonuses last year to their top 9 execs

There’s been a pretty big uproar this week over the news that the CEO of Horizon received nearly $9 million in pay and compensation last year, while at the same time the non-profit insurer raised premiums. But in this Courier Post article, we see it’s not just the CEO who did shall we say well last year:

According to a filing with the state’s Banking and Insurance Department, Marino drew a salary of nearly $935,000 and bonuses of $7.8 million last year.

Pay and bonuses to the company’s nine highest-paid executives last year totaled $24.3 million, up from $15.1 million the previous year.

And if that’s not enough and you’re looking for a disturbing commentary on the healthcare industry as a whole, check out this justification:

In a separate statement, company spokesman Daniel Emmer said Friday that a state study in 2008 found the company’s executive compensation to be below market level for peer companies.

Nope, there’s no need to reform the healthare system at all. They make millions of dollars apparently by denying people and raising the amount they need to pay for the coverage in the first place. And they have the nerve to defend then the obscene compensation by saying, well other people are making more. It’s a hell of a racket.  Senator Lautenberg is considering introducing legislation to impose oversight on the nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield companies across the country. State Senate Democrats have called for further hearings as well to look into the compensation packages.

Does Horizon want to make the decision for you and your doctor?

A standard GOP talking point opposing healthcare reform is their claim that decisions would be taken out of the hands of patients and their doctors.

But right now, there are signs the state’s largest provider is making things harder and less safe for vulnerable patients who need accurate reading of their tests. South Jersey Radiology is distributing the following letter, informing patients why they will no longer accept Horizon Health insurance as of July 1 (italics from the original):

Horizon is implementing a new process for scheduling CT, MRI, Nuclear medicine, and PET/CT studies. Your physician will be required to have CareCore National LLC (CCN) approve these imaging studies.  You or your physician will be required to have CareCore Natinoal LLC (CCN) approve these imaging studies.  You or your physician will no longer be able to schedule your study.  CCN requires scheduling to take place under their direct supervision.  They must be on the phone with you.  This is coercive and will delay care. Care Core will try to contact you.  If they cannot contact you after three phone calls they will arbitrarily make an appointment and mail you the date and time which may not be convenient for you.

Continuing:

CareCore not only takes the place of your physician in determining what studies are medically necessary but can direct you to a provider without regard to quality of service or technology.  Most Horizon approved providers do not offer subspecialty interpretation – in other words, a single radiologist may interpret all studies.  SJRA has state of the art equipment and subspecialty radiologists.  Our radiologists read in their subspecialty.  To see the risk to you, go to: (they had a link to the video that I embeded here)

This piece informs the viewer of the risk of not using the best technology and subspecialty interpretation.

They concluded:

Because of CCN/Horizon’s coercive policy changes SJRA terminated our contract with Horizon effecting July 1, 2009. The changes from Horizon were not negotiable. Horizon refused to provide clarification. SJRA will not participate in a system that sacrifices patient care.

State workers are insured by Horizon. The company website shows 3.6 million insured in NJ. Certainly the fact that this letter comes from a business offering services that may not be authorized under Horizon’s new rules must be considered. But I’m more concerned with the process Horizon is moving to, which appears to limit patient and doctor choice in scheduling, and interpreting test results.

So, will we see Republican outrage at this loss of control for patients and doctors? Next time that particular talking point is hauled out and used against public option, or single-payer, remember this. Let’s move forward to quality care for all, while we keep a jaundiced eye on the policies the health insurance industry is putting into practice right now.

Affordable Healthcare for Kids: How It’s Done

David Chen at the New York Times has the scoop on how the state will be able to provide low-cost health insurance for all children at no additional expense to taxpayers:

As many as 15,000 children who currently lack insurance could enroll in the program, which will take effect on Jan. 1. In contrast to comparable efforts in other states, the program would cost New Jersey nothing because Horizon, a nonprofit company, would absorb what Karen L. Clark, president and chief operating officer of the Horizon subsidiary Horizon NJ Health, said could be up to a $1 million loss in the first year.

“We are going to be setting the standard in the country for how we insure those children,” Mr. Corzine said in his announcement at a shopping mall here. “We know we will get a lot more of our children insured, and you know what that will do? That will keep them out of the emergency room. That will make sure that they get their shots. That means that they will look after their health and prevent the problems from developing.” […]

“There are things that states can do that are imaginative and creative, and can be effective,” said Irwin Redlener, associate dean at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and president of the Children’s Health Fund, a philanthropic organization. “And any efforts made by health insurance companies, which are doing extremely well, are good and should be applauded.”

Kudos to Corzine, Senator Vitale and Horizon.

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, October 17

  • The investigation of State Senator Wayne Bryant is expanding, with federal investigators subpoenaing financial records from Department of Children and Families’ dealings with Bryant’s former employer UMDNJ, and records from the Office of Legislative Services about public agencies’ business with Bryant’s law firm.
  • The Nat’l Republican Senate Committee is pouring more money into Tom Kean JUNIOR’s senate run, now to re-run an ad about ethics questions. No comment was made about the irony of JUNIOR redirecting attention with ethics questions.
  • Assembly Democrats are hearing updates and ideas from the special committees set up this summer to investigate property tax reform, hoping to meet the deadline they set of one month from now. Meanwhile, state Sen. Bill Gormely has proposed revamping the health insurance program for public employees, which would face strong opposition from the unions.
  • Moving forward: Lucile Davy is officially the state education commissioner now, while State Supreme Court Associate Justice James Zazzali has been approved by the State Senate judiciary committee to move to chief justice and Appellate Division Justice Helen Hoens has been approved to move to the high court.
  • Mayors are still allowed to collect fees for performing weddings. An ethics violation determination by the Department of Community Affairs has been dropped.
  • The Borough Council in Keyport is expected to consider a proposed ordinance that would fine landlords $1000 if they have units rented to illegal immigrants. “This is a racist ordinance with the sole purpose of getting rid of all Latinos in Keyport,” said the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders. “We are ready to file a lawsuit in federal court should it ever be adopted.”
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ has settled a class-action suit brought by 40,000 doctors who said they were shortchanged by Our Fair State’s largest HMO. Horizon agreed to “continue significant business practice improvements” and will pay the doctors’ lawyer fees.
  • Atlantic City’s Steel Pier Amusement Park closed its doors this past weekend. Trump Entertainment plans to redevelop the pier, but into what is as yet unknown.
  • Feel crowded in this morning? About 7:46AM today, the United States population crossed the 300 million mark.
  • Today is the LAST DAY to register to vote to be eligible to vote in the election on Nov. 7th. Go here if you need information, and pass it on! You can also go vote now, if you’d like- no reason is needed to vote absentee in Our Fair State.

Open Thread: What’s on your mind today, Blue Jersey?

Quid-Pro-Kean is Déjà Vu All Over Again

Learning from the example of a father willing to desecrate the history of our nation for short term partisan political gain, it’s not surprising that Quid-Pro-Kean Jr would sell his vote away so easily. And that’s before you even consider the long Kean family history of trading influence for campaign dollars. So today’s revelation should come as no surprise:

The same day state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. voted twice to let Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey keep a $40 million tax exemption, he collected $13,300 in contributions for his U.S. Senate race from 17 company executives and their family members…..including $4,100 from Horizon CEO and president William Marino and his wife, Paula.

Campaign contributions in exchange for corporate favors. Why does that sound so familiar?

The same day as the board meeting, some UnitedHealth directors and executives were supporting a campaign by Mr. Kean ‘s son for a U.S. Senate seat from New Jersey. Some of them attended a fund-raiser for Tom Kean Jr. that day, in UnitedHealth’s home state of Minnesota. It isn’t clear whether [CEO] Dr. McGuire and his wife attended, but each donated $2,000 to the cause. So did Richard T. Burke, who sits on a special board committee that is overseeing the options investigation. All told, UnitedHealth-affiliated donors have contributed $25,000 to the campaign…..

You might recall their explanation for why this took place on the same day Tom Kean Sr met on a board to decide the fate of United Health executives charged with fraud:

Jill Hazelbacker, Kean Jr.’s spokeswoman, said it was a “total coincidence” the events took place on the same day, May 5.

That’s a coincidence we can probably all sympathize with. Who hasn’t found themselves in Minnesota, taking money from the same executives whose fate will be decided by their dad? You know what else is a coincidence? Their explanation for this latest episode:

Hazelbaker and Horizon spokesman Thomas Rubino both suggested that the timing of the checks was a coincidence.

Tom Kean Jr doesn’t know how to take responsibility for his actions. It wasn’t a corporate shakedown – it was a coincidence. It wasn’t a quid-pro-quo – it was a coincidence. He freely throws around charges of ethics violations, but he doesn’t come close to meeting the lofty standards he imposes on others. A spokesman for Senator Menendez concluded: “He’s a hypocrite…This shows he’s not the reformer he portrays himself to be. It also shows that while his vote may be for sale, at least we know the price.”

Update: Menendez campaign spokesman Matt Miller responds:

“Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln – that’s a coincidence. Tom Kean Jr. taking 17 contributions from the state’s biggest HMO on the same day he votes to preserve their $40 million tax exemption is pay to play.  Tom Kean Jr.’s latest coincidence shows that he’s not just a hypocrite, but a hypocrite who always sides with big corporations over average New Jerseyans.  New Jersey needs a Senator who will stand up for everyone in the state, not just for big corporations and special interests.”