Third-party auditor bill signed into law

A bill that some insurers lobbied quietly to quash made its way through the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Sunday.

The bill calls for a third-party auditor to real-time audit the State Health Benefits Plan and School Employees Health Benefits Plan.

It was first introduced in October 2018 by state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), and came from a report commissioned by a New Jersey doctor that alleged health insurers were skimming off the top of claims payments for the SHBP and SEHBP.

The report was published by California-based AVYM.

ROI-NJ previously reported that the state’s contracts with Aetna and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey are set to expire this year, allowing a revamp of the Request for Proposal process and changing the type of contracts the state has with insurers who administer the state plans.

The Office of Legislative Services said in its fiscal analysis of the bill that it could not put a specific savings amount from the audited claims, even though the AVYM report alleges savings of more than $1 million to the state.

“Hiring a third-party medical claims reviewer to provide regular, frequent and ongoing review and oversight of the claims process, which process includes, but is not limited to, the receipt, management, adjudication and payment of claims, serves the best interests of the state, participating employers and the thousands of employees and their dependents covered under the (SHBP and SEHBP),” according to the legislation.

The goal is to have a medical claims reviewer hired in time to review claims from plans that will be in effect in January 2020.