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Assembly Panel Oks DeAngelo, Jimenez, Mukherji & Danielsen Bill to Make Health Care More Affordable for Active Members of the Military

Bill would allow primary care physicians to waive health insurance copayments for active military members

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Angelica Jimenez, Raj Mukherji and Joe Danielsen to make health care more affordable for active duty service members was recently released by an Assembly panel.

“Pricey copayments can make managing your health care difficult, even with health insurance,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This can be especially difficult for soldiers who may require expensive medications due to injuries related to their service. This would help alleviate this financial burden, and ensure that our soldiers don’t have to forego medical treatment when needed because they can’t afford it.”

The bill (A-2758), which supplements the “Health Care Quality Act,” P.L.1997, c.192 (C.26:2S-1 et seq.), would allow a primary care physician to waive the copayment charged for treatment to a patient with health insurance, if that patient is an active member of the military.

“For military families on a fixed income, copayments can become a barrier to getting the healthcare they need,” said Jimenez (D- Bergen, Hudson). “This is especially true for those recovering from injuries received during their time in the service and need to see a doctor regularly for care. We can make it easier for families who have dedicated their lives to service with this legislation.”

“A copayment may be a small fee, but they can definitely add up depending on the amount of doctor’s visits a person has to have to receive proper care,” said Mukherji (D- Hudson). “They have become an obstacle for many military families who are trying to make ends meet. We can do more to help service families by eliminating copayments and making it easier for military families to get to the doctor’s.”

“Copayments for families on a budget can be burdensome,” said Danielsen (D- Middlesex, Somerset). “For their service and dedication to the state and country, this legislation creates access to healthcare for our servicemen and women on active duty. This bill will help to keep our service families healthy and allow them to receive the healthcare they have a right to in New Jersey.”

Copayments are collected as payment for treatment by a primary care physician for a covered service pursuant to a participating provider contract between the primary care physician and a carrier providing a health benefits plan. For the purposes of this bill, “carrier” includes, in addition to an insurance company, health service corporation, hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, or health maintenance organization authorized to issue health benefits plans in this state, the State Health Benefits Commission and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Commission.

The bill would take effect on the 90th day next following enactment and applies to health benefits plans that are delivered, issued, executed or renewed, or approved for issuance or renewal in New Jersey, on or after the effective date of the bill.

The bill was released by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on June 12. It now heads to the Assembly speaker for further consideration.