Horizon BCBSNJ, RWJBarnabas, Hackensack Meridian launching Medicare Advantage joint venture

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is teaming with Hackensack Meridan Health and RWJBarnabas Health to launch a new Medicare Advantage plan.

The plan, called Braven Health, will be offered across eight counties in New Jersey beginning in October for the 2021 plan year, pending regulatory approval. It operates on Horizon BCBSNJ's existing MA network, so all providers covered there will also be covered by comparable Braven Health plans.

A Practitioner's Council made up of local physicians across a number of specialties will provide regular feedback to Braven's CEO and board, and will play an active role in shaping ways to improve the member experience in the plan, Horizon BCBSNJ said.

The organizations said the joint venture sprung from long-standing value-based care work as members of the OMNIA Health Alliance.

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“Today’s Medicare eligible New Jerseyan wants a health care partner that supports their active, vibrant lifestyles. By providing a health care experience that is comprehensive, integrated and simple to navigate, Braven Health is a new way to health for a new generation of Medicare members,” said Gary D. St. Hilaire, president and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ, in a statement.

“This partnership is the culmination of years of work together with partners that possess a shared dedication to health care innovation and patient-centered care. Through Braven Health, Horizon and its provider partners will share total responsibility for the cost and quality of the care that our members receive," St. Hilaire said.

Luisa Charbonneau will serve as Braven Health's chief executive officer, according to the announcement. Charbonneau most recently served as senior vice president at Peerfit, a company that aims to empower seniors to live healthy lifestyles.

She also previously led the Medicare business at Florida Blue and held leadership roles at Humana.

“Delivering an excellent health care experience while making health care more affordable requires continued innovation in the ways we collaborate and operate,” Charbonneau said. “As healthcare companies with impressive track records of working together to improve health care these are the perfect partners to help Braven Health be accountable to the customer and bring true innovation to the Medicare market.”