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CoverNJ Coalition Launches Statewide Effort To Promote Health Insurance Open Enrollment Nov. 1- Dec. 15

Markets Insider — October 30, 2017

NEW BRUNWSICK, N.J., Oct. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A diverse coalition of consumer advocates, healthcare organizations, insurance companies, libraries, social services groups and others are joining forces to make sure New Jersey residents have every opportunity to sign up for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period Nov. 1-Dec. 15.

The CoverNJ Coalition is committed to ensuring that New Jersey residents have access to a medical home, preventative care and the other essential health benefits that insurance provides. The Coalition announced its effort today during an outreach event hosted by RWJBarnabas Health at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, with coalition members, community representatives and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6).

"In response to the recent federal cuts to ACA funding and outreach, groups from all across the state have come together to ensure New Jerseyans have the information and resources they need to get enrolled," said Maura Collingsgru, health care program director for New Jersey Citizen Action. "Consumers need to know they can still get financial assistance as in years past if they qualify and free enrollment assistance to help select the plan that is right for them."

The Coalition's key messages to N.J. residents:

New Jersey has enjoyed historic lows in its uninsured rate since the coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014. Today, just 6 percent of the state's residents are without health insurance; that's half the uninsured rate in the years before passage of the ACA.

New Jersey has three insurance carriers, offering 28 different health plan options, at four different coverage levels (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Catastrophic) available on the online marketplace this open enrollment period.

"Consumers in New Jersey will have a broad range of coverage options to fit their needs and may shop on the exchange or contact an insurer directly," said Wardell Sanders, Esq., president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans. "It is critical, however, that consumers protect their health and act promptly during the shortened open-enrollment period to obtain coverage. New Jersey insurers will be active in communities across the state to assist with enrollment."

Coalition members expressed concern about a number of barriers this year that could dissuade consumers from using the healthcare marketplace and signing up for coverage, including: a much shorter sign-up window; deep cuts in the open enrollment marketing budget; funding cuts to support health navigators; and plans to shut down for weekly maintenance on Sundays.

The Coalition also wants to alleviate any confusion about recent news announcing an end to Cost-Sharing Reduction payments. In spite of this change, eligible consumers will still receive cost-sharing reductions and premium subsidies.

"These organizations have made great strides in increasing health literacy, awareness and access to the information and tools needed to gain coverage," said John J. Gantner, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. "We thank you for the work you've done so far and we look forward to continuing to work with this coalition, as well as Congressman Pallone, to help New Jersey residents gain health coverage."

Coalition members are collaborating on a number of activities to raise awareness and support consumers shopping for insurance, including advertising and social media outreach, town halls and other enrollment events and a website,, that helps connect New Jersey residents with enrollment counselors who can answer questions and help them sign up for coverage.

Said Congressman Pallone, "In an uncertain healthcare landscape, it is important for all of our healthcare delivery and education partners to remain united with the purpose of providing quality, affordable care and coverage for our communities. We must continue standing together to demonstrate that the health of New Jerseyans stands above special or political interests. I look forward to working with our partners to help enroll as many Jerseyans with quality healthcare coverage as possible."

Members of the CoverNJ Coalition include:

New Jersey Citizen Action
NJ For Health Care
New Jersey Hospital Association
New Jersey Association of Health Plans
New Jersey Policy Perspective
New Jersey Primary Care Association
New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute
Planned Parenthood
Center for Family Services
Family Resource Network
Jewish Renaissance Medical Center
South Brunswick Public Library
Elizabeth Public Library
United Way of Central New Jersey
United Way of Greater Mercer
Fulfill (formerly Food Bank of Ocean and Monmouth Counties)
Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)

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