Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Jersey has become the fourth Blues plan this year to abandon plans for a conversion to for-profit status.
"We have concluded that conversion is not the best course of action and therefore have decided to take conversion off the table," William Marino, president and CEO of the Newark-based company, wrote in a recent letter to employees.
"In the past six months the regulatory climate for conversions has changed," Marino added. "Several attempted conversions in other states have failed to win approval or have been withdrawn, including one with characteristics very similar to ours."
In 2000, following a nationwide trend of Blues plans converting to for-profit status, Horizon, New Jersey's largest health insurer, began exploring the idea of going public.
But lately, Blues plans have been backing out of conversions:
- Earlier this month, the Kansas Supreme Court blocked the sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas to Indianapolis-based Anthem, upholding a decision against the sale by the Kansas Insurance Department and overturning a lower court decision in favor of Anthem.
- In July, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced it was withdrawing its petition with the state for for-profit status.
- In March, Maryland's insurance commissioner rejected CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's proposal to convert to for-profit status and be acquired by for-profit WellPoint Health Networks, based in Woodland Hills, Calif.