Website Will Help N.J. Residents Find Obamacare Assistance

NJBIZ — Thursday, November 13, 2014

By Beth Fitzgerald

New Jerseyans who need help enrolling in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act can now go online to CoverNJ.org to find organizations in their county that provide free, in-person and telephone assistance to guide them through the complexities of purchasing government-subsidized health plans via HealthCare.gov, or signing up for Medicaid.

The second year of HealthCare.gov enrollment starts Saturday and continues through Feb. 15, 2015. So far, nearly a half-million New Jerseyans have purchased subsidized health plans or enrolled in Medicaid, and advocates for the uninsured hope to get thousands more covered this year.

Today, the NJ for Health Care Coalition ACA Work Group Partners announced the new website.

Maura Collinsgru, health care program director of coalition member New Jersey Citizen Action, said that, throughout New Jersey during open enrollment, there will be more than 400 trained assisters helping people enroll, up from fewer than 300 in 2014. She said that, in addition, groups throughout the state are working to get the uninsured covered, including faith-based groups, medical clinics and community groups.

"The number of people who are doing outreach to educate consumers in New Jersey about health coverage is in the thousands," she said.

The New Jersey Hospital Association, for example, received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to train 20 military veterans as navigators who are helping people enroll. Jennifer Barrett-Sryfi, director of community Programs for NJHA, said the team of veterans will be providing assistance at hospitals, health care facilities and other sites, including on weekends.

"We are looking forward to a successful enrollment season," she said.

Evelyn Mercado is community services manager for HOPES CAP in Hudson and Union counties.

"We are going home to home in our housing facilities in the evenings after people get home from work to talk to them about open enrollment," she said. "A lot of people have heard about the ACA but they don't know what to do."

She added that this one-on-one approach "has been very successful."

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