Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (Mercer, Hunterdon) and Lisa Swain (Bergen, Passaic) to ensure extended open enrollment periods as part of the state-based healthcare exchange was approved by the full Assembly 73-0-2 on Thursday.
The bill (A-5503) would establish one limited open enrollment period of not less than 90 days in the New Jersey Individual Health Coverage Program, and one limited open enrollment period of not less than 90 days in the New Jersey Small Employer Health Benefits Program. The measure would also require the open enrollment period for individual employees under a small employer health benefits plan to allow for late enrollment for individual employees without the imposition of any penalty based on any preexisting condition.
Reynolds-Jackson and Swain issued the following statement after the bill’s passage by the full Assembly:
“Changes on the federal level of ACA have deliberately shortened the open enrollment period by 50 percent placing consumers at a great disadvantage. There’s less time to research their coverage options and enroll. As New Jersey embarks on the creation of a State-based healthcare exchange, it is critical to ensure open enrollment periods which provide enough time, promotion and access for residents.”
The bill will now go to the Senate for further review.