To help make it easier to identify New Jersey residents in need of health insurance and reach out to provide enrollment assistance, Assembly Democrats Anthony Verrelli, Angela McKnight and John McKeon sponsor legislation to establish a New Jersey Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program. The bill was advanced by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on Friday.
The purpose of the program would be to help improve access to care while reducing insurance costs for New Jersey residents by maximizing health insurance enrollment throughout the state.
Under the bill (A-5213), the Department of Banking and Insurance would establish a program that utilizes a State-based reporting system to gather information via income tax returns on the health insurance status of residents. The program would identify which uninsured residents would be interested in obtaining minimum essential coverage and if they are eligible for insurance affordability assistance.
Residents who qualify for affordability assistance and are interested in obtaining insurance would be contacted through the program to receive assistance enrolling in a plan. If an uninsured resident does not qualify for the State Medicaid program or the NJ FamilyCare Program, the program would look into whether the individual qualifies for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions.
The measure mandates data privacy and security safeguards be put into place to protect the information gathered under the program.
Upon the bill advancing, Assembly sponsors Verrelli (D-Hunterdon, Mercer), McKnight (D-Hudson) and McKeon (D-Essex, Morris) issued the following joint statement:
“From checkups and screenings to injuries and chronic conditions, health care will always be a necessary part of life. Yet not everyone in our state has health insurance, which can keep them from accessing the important medical services they need.
“Determining how many residents lack health insurance and which ones might be interested in obtaining some form of coverage would help our state reach out to provide the information and assistance those individuals need to enroll. Many uninsured residents would likely qualify for affordable State plans, which means there is no reason they need to continue going without coverage.
“This program will ultimately make a big difference in residents’ lives by improving access to health care and making premiums more affordable for everyone as a result of greater enrollment.”
The legislation now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.