15:15 PM

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey announces structural and leadership changes to enhance its advocacy for more affordable health care

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) announced today organizational and personnel changes in the company’s public, governmental and regulatory affairs operations. Through the creation of a new division – Corporate and Regulatory Affairs – and the appointment of new key personnel, the company will pursue changes that help address the rising cost of health care in New Jersey.“Health care costs are crushing New Jersey families and businesses,” said William J. Castner, Jr., Senior Vice President, Corporate & Regulatory Affairs for Horizon BCBSNJ. “The team of professionals we have assembled is committed to helping our efforts to offer New Jersey consumers high quality, low-cost health insurance.”Appointed last November to lead Horizon’s new division, Mr. Castner today announced the appointment of Ulises Diaz to the post of Director of Enterprise Government Affairs. Prior to joining Horizon BCBSNJ, Mr. Diaz served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Verizon New Jersey. Mr. Diaz also formerly served as Vice President of External Affairs for United Water. Reporting directly to Castner, Mr. Diaz will lead a reconstituted government affairs team.The new Government Affairs Directors include:
  • Michele Jaker, who most recently worked as Director of Government Relations for Amerigroup New Jersey (Anthem, Inc.), was formerly the Chief of Staff to State Senator Joseph Vitale; and serves on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans;
  • Dominick DiRocco, who joins Horizon BCBSNJ after serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Christopher J. Christie. Mr. DiRocco formerly was Counsel to United States Senator Jeffrey Chiesa and served as Assistant Vice President of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.
Ms. Jaker and Mr. DiRocco join Government Affairs Director John Rogers, formerly chief counsel to the Assembly Republican Office and former Vice President of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.Other Government Affairs team additions include:
  • Government Affairs Manager Sarah Jones, who comes to Horizon BCBSNJ from Cablevision, where she was Director of Government Affairs. Ms. Jones also previously served as District Director for United States Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.;
  • Government Affairs Specialist Scarlett Rajski, who previously served as Project Manager for the Government Affairs Department of Gibbons P.C.
Jones and Rajski join Tara Cadet, Government Affairs Specialist and Constituent Services Liaison.Other organizational changes and additions to enhance community and stakeholder engagement include the appointment of Tom Wilson as Horizon BCBSNJ Director of Public Affairs. Prior to joining Horizon BCBSNJ, Wilson was partner with the Kaufman Zita Group; served as Chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee; served as Communications Director for Governor Donald DiFrancesco; and was chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Garabed “Chuck” Haytaian.Also joining Horizon’s team as Public Affairs Manager is Kevin McArdle, a former longtime State House reporter with 101.5 radio and award-winning journalist. McArdle, Horizon BCBSNJ Public Relations Manager Thomas Vincz and Social Media Manager Stephen Rioseco work under Wilson, who reports to Castner.“Horizon is committed to make positive changes for New Jersey,” Mr. Castner said.“The new division enables us to immerse ourselves in New Jersey’s communities and to collaborate with all stakeholders across health care.About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New JerseyHorizon 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. 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 is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.8 million members.