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N.J. insurer, system struggle to address PR problems

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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and CarePoint Health, in Jersey City, N.J.,  are on campaigns to heal their bad PR.

CarePoint Health, a three-hospital, for-profit system, has been denounced by insurers and patient-advocacy groups for charging some of the  nation’s highest rates for out-of-network  treatment.

In defense of its out-of-network billing practices, CarePoint hired Rand Corp. to study the possible impact of pending state legislation  to limit the amount that providers can charge for out-of-network services.

The report  concluded that capping involuntary out-of-network rates to between 90 percent and 250 percent of the corresponding Medicare rate could cause between 48 percent and 75 percent of state hospitals to operate at a loss.

Meanwhile, Horizon, for its part, defended its controversial Omnia health plans,  which offer patients steep discounts for visiting providers in a preferred tier. The plans led to   lawsuits from community hospitals whose lawyers argued that the low-cost plans would force them out of business.

So Horizon announced a plan to pay for a healthcare-advocacy organization largely composed of,  and led by, business and labor groups and aimed at improving healthcare literacy among New Jerseyites.

So farm, the PR campaigns/diversions have not met with much applause.

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