Some of the state’s top health care executives will be meeting in the coming months with the goal of lowering health care costs across New Jersey starting in 2023, pursuant to an executive order Gov. Phil Murphy signed on Dec. 21.
Figures from the governor’s office show significant increases in health insurance premiums and deductibles between 2010 and 2016, with costs growing as much as three times faster than many incomes. Left unchecked, officials said annual health care costs could go up 4.75% per person per year between 2019 and 2028.
The goal of the new panel is to reduce that percentage to 3.5% by 2023, 3.2% by 2024, 3% by 2025, and 2.8% in 2026 and 2027, Murphy said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic underscores just how important it is that New Jersey continues to work to lower the cost of health care for residents, and we recognize that affordable, quality health care is a critical part of our COVID-19 recovery,” the governor said in a statement.
Murphy was joined at the announcement in Trenton by Shabnam Sali, director of the state Office of Health Care Accountability and Transparency, along with members of the panel.
“Making New Jersey a more affordable place to call home for our residents and businesses means working to address the cost of high health care prices,” the governor continued. “New Jersey has world class health care institutions and providers, and we want to ensure that New Jerseyans have more affordable access to these services.”
Six other states – Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and Nevada – have implemented similar programs, while one is being developed in Nevada, Murphy aides said.
Massachusetts’ program, enacted in 2012, has held the annual growth of health care costs to below a benchmark of 3.6% for three years, creating a five-year average of 3.4%, according to a report by the nonprofit health policy research organization the Commonwealth Fund.
“In the commercial sector, slower spending growth meant that employers and consumers paid an estimated $7.2 billion less from 2013 to 2018 than they would have if the state’s spending growth had matched the national average,” the report reads.
The panel’s members are:
- Summit Health CEO Jeff Alter
- New Jersey Hospital Association President and CEO Cathleen Bennett
- New Jersey Citizen Action Health Care Program Director Maura Collinsgru
- Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert Garrett
- Atlantic Health System President and CEO Brian Gragnolati
- NJM Insurance Group President and CEO Mitch Livingston
- AmeriHealth New Jersey Market President Michael Munoz
- Camden Coalition of Health Care Providers Senior Director Victor Murray
- Rutgers AAUP-AFT Executive Director Patrick Nowlan
- Cooper University Health Care Co-President and CEO Kevin O’Dowd
- RWJBarnabas Health President and CEO Barry Ostrowsky
- Virtua Health President and CEO Dennis Pullin
- New Jersey Association of Health Plans President Wardell Sanders
- Sandkamp Woodworks Owner Anthony Sandkamp
- New Jersey Heath Care Quality Institute President and CEO Linda Schwimmer
- St. Joseph’s Health President and CEO Kevin Slavin
- Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey President and CEO Garry D. St. Hilaire