Horizon BCBSNJ, Hackensack Meridian introduce Braven Health – NJBIZ

Three New Jersey health care leaders on Monday announced the formation of Braven Health SM, a Medicare Advantage plan that will enhance the health care experience for its members living in eight counties.

Braven Health is the first and only New Jersey Medicare plan owned and operated jointly by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and one of the state’s leading health networks, Hackensack Meridian Health. To further support this innovation, HMH and Horizon BCBSNJ are also working with RWJBarnabas Health to join Braven Health, subject to approval by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

Luisa Charbonneau will serve as the first chief executive officer of Braven Health.

Braven Health plans use Horizon BCBSNJ’s existing Medicare Advantage managed care networks, meaning that every doctor and hospital that participates in those network will also be in-network for comparable Braven Health plans. As a Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plan, Braven Health’s members choosing a PPO plan will also have access to the BCBS national Medicare Advantage PPO network whenever outside of New Jersey.

“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 health care 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.”

Charbonneau is an accomplished senior executive who has more than two decades of leadership in both startup companies and complex health care organizations. She served most recently as the senior vice president at Peerfit, a company dedicated to empowering seniors to live healthy and active lifestyles. Prior to that she led the Medicare business as the vice president of government markets at Florida Blue. She also served as vice president for Medicare and government programs at Coventry Healthcare/Aetna in Florida, and spent 10 years in a variety of leadership roles with Humana.

The joint venture stems from years of work the organizations have done together to advance value-based care through the OMNIA Health Alliance. Braven Health offers a member-focused health care experience guided by those who know each member’s health best – their doctors. With more seamless coordination, Braven Health is a whole new approach to Medicare.

St. Hilaire

“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 St. Hilaire, president and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ. “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.”


“Finding innovative, effective ways to deliver care is at the center of everything we do at Hackensack Meridian Health. Embarking on this partnership with Horizon was a natural progression in our quest to make health care seamless and less stressful,” said Hackensack Meridian CEO Robert Garrett. “We are a national leader in delivering high-quality, affordable health care to our Medicare patients through our Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and Braven Health provides our Medicare patients with a new option for care.”

Additionally, this unique company creates a stronger partnership.

Braven Health will have a Practitioner Council made up of physicians representing various specialties. This council will provide recommendations to the Braven Health CEO and board of directors on ways to improve the plan from the practitioner’s perspective, giving them an active role in the platform and helping ensure a better experience for the provider community.


“At RWJBarnabas Health, we are committed to enhancing access to the highest quality care for all residents of New Jersey,” said Barry Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer, RWJBarnabas Health. “Today, we are proud to stand with two organizations who share our vision for enhancing the health and wellness of our state – namely Hackensack Meridian Health and Horizon – and I am confident Braven Health will yield amazing benefits for New Jersey’s Medicare population.”

Braven Health represents a major milestone in New Jersey’s journey to transform the fee-for-service health care system and improve health care quality, affordability and the customer experience through greater integration, coordination and alignment. As New Jersey’s first payor-provider owned health plan, Braven expects to leverage the collective brand strength of each organization to deliver high-quality, personalized care at a lower cost.

Consistent with CMS’ rules, information about the benefits and premiums of specific Braven Health Plans will be available on Oct. 1, 2020, and applications for coverage will be accepted beginning on Oct. 15, 2020, for coverage that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.