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Vitale, Lopez, Benson & Johnson Bill Enhancing Outreach Initiatives & Eliminating Premiums, Waiting Periods for NJ FamilyCare Heads to Governor

In an effort to encourage and make it easier for more residents to enroll in NJ FamilyCare, Senator Joe Vitale and Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez, Daniel Benson and Gordon Johnson have sponsored a bill to eliminate premiums and waiting periods, as well as enhance outreach efforts for the program. The legislation passed the full Senate and Assembly Thursday, by a vote of 39-0 and 70-0-3, respectively.

NJ FamilyCare is New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance program that helps residents of all ages access affordable health insurance if they do not have coverage through their employer.

Under the bill (A-5805/S-3798), enrollees would not have to pay premiums as a condition of their participation in the program, except in the case of enrollees who exceed income limits but choose to enroll their children in the Advantage program.

The measure would also eliminate waiting periods for any eligible person who applies for NJ FamilyCare coverage. The bill stipulates that no eligible child who applies for coverage can be denied immediate enrollment for any reason.

Existing outreach initiatives to increase public awareness about the availability and benefits of enrolling in NJ FamilyCare would also be enhanced under the bill through increased coordination of these efforts.

$20 million would be appropriated to the Department of Human Services each year for in order to implement the provisions of this act.

Upon the measure’s passage, Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Assembly Democrats Lopez (D-Middlesex), Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) and Johnson (D-Bergen) issued the following joint statement:

“Without health insurance coverage, it can be difficult to receive proper medical care – and we have seen just how important access to health care is over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We must keep working towards our goal of providing New Jersey families with quality, affordable health insurance if we want as many residents as possible to receive the care they both need and deserve. Eliminating wait times and premiums while further promoting this important program will help us achieve this goal.”

The legislation now heads to the Governor’s desk.