Putting Tax Savings to Work for You
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Federal tax reforms freed up millions of dollars that corporations are putting to use in a wide variety of ways. Some are returning portions of the savings to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks. Others have provided their employee base with bonuses or are paying down debt.
By Frank Melaccio, Vice President & Treasurer
Giving back to our members & customers
At Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, we’re taking a different approach. We’re using these dollars to help our members by investing in initiatives that will drive improvements to our members’ health care. A total of $275 million was either returned directly to our members and customers in 2018 or will be devoted over the next five years to investments that help make health care more affordable and help our members achieve their best health.
Rising health care costs are a problem for everyone
When hospitals, doctors, and drug companies charge more for prescriptions, tests, and procedures that means higher premiums, copays and deductibles for our members. That’s why before anything else, Horizon sent part of our tax refund back to the employers and policyholders that paid those taxes in the first place.
We will use some of that tax refund to make big changes that will improve the health care system, lower the cost of health care in the long-term and help make health insurance more affordable.
Investing to improve health care for you
Here are some of the ways Horizon plans to invest to improve health care, lower costs, and help our members achieve their best health:
- Poor health can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression. Similarly, mental and behavioral health problems can prevent someone from taking care of their medical needs. We’re investing in new ways to integrate medical and behavioral health care so we can treat the whole person and ultimately, improve outcomes and reduce costs.
- When people cannot access routine care, they end up relying on emergency rooms or waiting until an illness that could have been treated becomes so severe that it requires hospitalization. That drives up health care spending and costs us all. By working closely with doctors, hospitals, community health workers, and social service organizations, we’ll invest in programs that tear down barriers that prevent people from getting the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
- Addiction is a chronic disease that is tearing apart our communities and adding new burdens and costs to our health care system. By investing in holistic addiction programs, we’ll help our members get and remain on the path to recovery and save lives.
- People are more likely to try something when you make it convenient for them. Today, consumers use their phones for almost everything – paying bills, buying clothes, watching movies, and ordering groceries or a ride across town. Why not health care, too? By making it easier for our members to use their phones and laptops to check their test results, order a prescription refill, schedule an appointment or consult with a doctor or nurse, we’ll make quality care more convenient.
Putting Members First
For years, we have urged federal lawmakers to take action that would lower health costs and improve access to care for everyone. With the tax reforms in place, Washington has given us the tools to return money to our members and make significant new investments of our own – investments that will have a direct and positive impact on the people we serve.
Not only will these dollars advance our promise to make health care more affordable, they will also help us continue to lead the health care transformation in New Jersey and better collaborate with hospitals, doctors and others to make the health care system work better for our members.