PRESS RELEASE April-9-2020

Sweeney Welcomes Action By Horizon to help Preserve Health Care Coverage

Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney today welcomed the action by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the largest health insurer in the state, to grant extensions on premium payments and refrain from cancelling policies during the COVID-19 crisis that confronts policyholders and businesses with “unthinkable circumstances.”

Senator Sweeney last week wrote to Kevin Conlin, Horizon’s President and CEO, asking for these actions to help address the health care needs and financial pressures on policyholders and employers.

Senator Sweeney also praised Horizon for waiving the “actively-at-work” requirement for 60 days to sustain coverage for workers who lose their jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

“I want to thank Horizon for responding favorably to a pressing need that confronts employees and employers who are facing unthinkable circumstances,” said Senator Sweeney. “As the largest health insurer in New Jersey, Horizon is doing the right thing and setting the right example in a time of crisis. We cannot allow health care coverage to collapse in this state or flood the already strained Medicaid system. Health care is a vital need and the financial relief is desperately needed.”

Senator Sweeney urged other health care insurers to take similar actions for their policyholders, saying that “the residents and businesses in New Jersey need relief on when premiums can be paid and they need help from Horizon, and others.”

“Non-essential businesses are basically closed and have little to no revenue,” said Senator Sweeney. “Many are temporarily laying off workers and cutting health care coverage. Employees and businesses are in dire need of relief to make it through these challenging times. We should not force workers who lose their income to go without health coverage because they can’t pay high COBRA costs.”

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