Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Jr. M.D. and Celeste Riley to create a public awareness campaign to inform the public about the health insurance exchange established under the landmark federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was granted final legislative approval on Thursday by the Senate and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The bill (A-3878), approved by a vote of 23-15, would require the Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) to establish and lead a coordinated statewide public awareness campaign about the health insurance exchange for the general public.
Conaway noted that the insurance exchange is designed to promote choice and value by allowing an individual or small business to compare the costs and benefits of various health plans and options, while being part of a large insurance pool, which helps lower rates.
“There’s no question that the establishment and implementation of a health insurance exchange is going to be a complex process,” said Conaway (D-Burlington), who chairs the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. “But hopefully this awareness campaign will help make dense subject matter far more accessible and understandable to the general public.”
“Anyone who already has the benefit of having health insurance understands how complicated it can be to sift through the technical language and fine print,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “The more people know about the health insurance exchange, the better positioned they will be to make educated decisions about the best health coverage for them.”
The public awareness campaign would require DOBI to: develop a strategy for publicizing the services, eligibility requirements, and enrollment procedures of the insurance exchange; post easily accessible information on its website about the exchange and links to other relevant sources of information and assistance; prepare informational materials and disseminate these materials at public venues throughout the state, as well as in collaboration with other state, county, and municipal government entities.
The measure was previously approved by the Assembly in late April.