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Introducing Braven Health℠: A New Way to Health for Medicare Eligible New Jerseyans


A New Medicare Advantage Offering in Eight Counties Starting January 1, 2021 Brings Together Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBarnabas Health

(Newark and Hackensack, NJ, August/September 14, 2020) --In a continuing effort to advance healthcare innovation in New Jersey, three of the state’s health care leaders are announcing Braven HealthSM, a Medicare Advantage plan that will enhance the health care experience for its members living in eight counties. Braven Health is the first and only New Jersey Medicare plan owned and operated jointly by the state’s most trusted health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) and one of the state’s leading health networks, Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH). To further support this innovation, HMH and Horizon BCBSNJ are working with RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) to join Braven Health, subject to approval by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. Luisa Y. Charbonneau is serving as the first chief executive officer of Braven Health.

Braven Health plans use Horizon BCBSNJ’s existing Medicare Advantage managed care networks, meaning that every doctor and hospital that participates in those networks, which are among the largest in New Jersey, will also be in-network for comparable Braven Health plans. As a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plan, Braven Health’s members choosing a PPO plan will also have access to the BCBS national Medicare Advantage PPO network whenever outside of New Jersey.

“Delivering an excellent health care experience while making health care more affordable requires continued innovation in the ways we collaborate and operate,” Charbonneau said. “As healthcare companies with impressive track records of working together to improve health care these are the perfect partners to help Braven Health be accountable to the customer and bring true innovation to the Medicare market.”

The joint venture stems from years of work the organizations have done together to advance value-based care through the OMNIA Health Alliance. Braven Health offers a member-focused health care experience guided by those who know each member’s health best - their doctors. With more seamless coordination, Braven Health is a whole new approach to Medicare.

“Today’s Medicare eligible New Jerseyan wants a health care partner that supports their active, vibrant lifestyles. By providing a health care experience that is comprehensive, integrated and simple to navigate, Braven Health is a new way to health for a new generation of Medicare members,” said Gary D. St. Hilaire, president and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ. “This partnership is the culmination of years of work together with partners that possess a shared dedication to health care innovation and patient-centered care. Through Braven Health, Horizon and its provider partners will share total responsibility for the cost and quality of the care that our members receive.”

“Finding innovative, effective ways to deliver care is at the center of everything we do at Hackensack Meridian Health. Embarking on this partnership with Horizon was a natural progression in our quest to make health care seamless and less stressful,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “We are a national leader in delivering high-quality, affordable health care to our Medicare patients through our Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and Braven Health provides our Medicare patients with a new option for care. Additionally, this unique company creates a stronger partnership with our physicians and practitioners.”

Braven Health will have a Practitioner Council made up of physicians representing various specialties. This council will provide recommendations to the Braven Health CEO and board of directors on ways to improve the plan from the practitioner’s perspective, giving them an active role in Braven Health and helping ensure a better experience for the provider community.

“At RWJBarnabas Health, we are committed to enhancing access to the highest quality care for all residents of New Jersey,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer, RWJBarnabas Health. “Today, we are proud to stand with two organizations who share our vision for enhancing the health and wellness of our state – namely Hackensack Meridian Health and Horizon – and I am confident Braven Health will yield amazing benefits for New Jersey’s Medicare population.”

Luisa Charbonneau is an accomplished senior executive who has over two decades of leadership in both start-up companies and complex health care organizations. She served most recently as the senior vice president at Peerfit, a company dedicated to empowering seniors to live healthy and active lifestyles. Prior to that she led the Medicare business as the vice president of Government Markets at Florida Blue. She has also served as vice president for Medicare and Government Programs at Coventry Healthcare/Aetna in Florida, and spent 10 years in a variety of leadership roles with Humana.

Braven Health represents a major milestone in New Jersey’s journey to transform the fee-for-service health care system and improve health care quality, affordability, and the customer experience through greater integration, coordination, and alignment. As New Jersey’s first payor-provider owned health plan, Braven expects to leverage the collective brand strength of each organization to deliver high-quality, personalized care at a lower cost.

Consistent with CMS’ rules, information about the benefits and premiums of specific Braven Health Plans will be available on October 1, 2020 and applications for coverage will be accepted beginning on October 15, 2020 for coverage that will take effect on January 1, 2021. Consumers seeking more information about purchasing a Braven Health Plan can call 1-833-713-1313.


About Braven HealthSM

Braven HealthSM  is a New Jersey payor-provider owned health plan. Owned and operated jointly by a comprehensive health system, Hackensack Meridian Health, and a trusted health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey it offers competitive premium options and comprehensive benefits that go beyond traditional health insurance to support older adults who want more from life and more from their health care partners. It offers Medicare Advantage plans in 8 New Jersey counties with a broad provider network anchored by Hackensack Meridian Health and that includes all health care professionals who participate in Horizon BCBSNJ’s managed care network. To further support this innovation, HMH and Horizon BCBSNJ are working with RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) to join Braven Health, subject to approval by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. Braven Health is an affiliate of Horizon BCBSNJ and is licensed by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Learn more at www.BravenHealth.com

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Horizon 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, vision 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 nearly 3.5 million members.

About Hackensack Meridian Health

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 36,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four of its hospitals are among the top hospitals in New Jersey for 2020-21, according to U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the health system has more top-ranked hospitals than any system in New Jersey. Children’s Health is again ranked a top provider of pediatric health care in the United States and earned top 50 rankings in the annual U.S. News’ 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals report.   Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list.


RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with five million people. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerville, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton in Hamilton, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway in Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital with a network of outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, affiliated medical groups, multi-site imaging centers and two accountable care organizations.

RWJBH is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 33,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBH’s affiliation with Rutgers University has created New Jersey’s largest academic health care system. The collaboration aligns RWJBH with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey - the state's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center - and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.