Some Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (BCBSNJ) customers received a surprise gift from the health insurer just ahead of Christmas: cold, hard cash.
“We were shocked,” said Jane Sapienza, a real estate appraiser and mother of two from Fanwood, New Jersey, who thought the check-containing envelope was just a bill.
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“I was really excited to receive the check. It was a welcome bonus during the holiday season,” said Sapienza, noting that the check and the reduction in premiums were an “emotional boost” that improves her outlook for the future.
“To have Blue Cross Blue Shield give us back a check for $1,200 for 2018 was really a morale booster … I appreciate BCBSNJ’s decision to pay it forward to their customers. Especially those of us who are hardest hit by having private policies,” she also said in an interview with LifeZette.
Sapienza said the windfall, which she intends to use to pay Christmas-related bills, came as quite a surprise.
When she discovered it, thanks in part to social media posts she had seen about the disbursement, she woke her husband —who was equally surprised — eager to share the good news.
In addition to the one-time, $1,200 check, the family of four also received a premium reduction for 2019 of about $100 a month — a change she said left her feeling “optimistic” and “relieved to be going in the right direction.”
Over the last decade, the family’s insurance bill had doubled, leaving her “feeling the frustration of a total lack of control over the increases.”
Now, said Sapienza, she feels hopeful.
The letter accompanying the check noted, in part, “Consistent with our mission to serve our members, Horizon BCBSNJ is using its tax refund for our members.”
BCBSNJ’s website explained that with the federal tax reform that was enacted a year ago, the company anticipated a reduction in its annual federal taxes.
The company is estimating that its one-time tax refund, paid out over five years, will total $550 million.
The one-time refund stemmed from tax credits the company earned over 30 years of paying federal taxes.
BCBSNJ cited a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent and the elimination of the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax as the specific elements of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that positively impacted its company.
In addition to the $150 million returned to its policyholders, BCBSNJ’s website also explains the company will invest $125 million over five years for “significant initiatives that will drive improvements in health care for Horizon BCBSNJ members in the areas of behavioral health, access to care and addiction.”
Back in February, Horizon BCBSNJ’s president and chief executive officer announced the not-for-profit insurer’s plan to provide $150 million to customers “in the most direct way possible,” as Bloomberg reported.
See also the tweets below from other customers about the unexpected Christmas treat — and the video right below it.
I just got a check from horizon blue cross blue shield for a distribution because they received a tax credit from the Trump tax plan. It’s a one time refund and it’s a pretty good amount. Thank you and thank the trump tax plan. Hey Pelosi, it’s not crumbs and it’s not Armageddon!
— Rich R. (@RLR58) December 22, 2018
HORIZON BC BS REFUND CHECK? Are you on Horizon Blue Cross and opened your mail this past Friday and saw that big check?! Make sure u open all mail some clients already trashed that enevelope by error!!!
— Mark Herschlag (@MarkHerschlag) December 24, 2018
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ just sent me a check for $500. They said, in so many words, that they got a tax…
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Kudos to Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Did anyone else get a rather large Horizon BCBS of NJ refund…
And check out this video:
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.