Health & Wellness

Free Health Insurance for Kids

March 18, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Project Self-Sufficiency offers open enrollment appointments for New Jersey Family Care, the health insurance plan offered by the state of New Jersey to eligible children and low-income parents, every Wednesday morning, from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., and every Thursday evening, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. 

New Jersey Family Care is a comprehensive health insurance program that provides a wide range of services, including visits to a physician, eye glasses, hospitalization, lab work, x-rays, prescriptions, regular checkups, mental health, and dental coverage.  Medical services are available at Health Maintenance Organizations in each county.  Depending on family income, there may be restrictions on certain services.  Coverage in the health care plan is available for children 18 years of age and younger, as well as parents who meet income eligibility requirements.  Eligibility is based on family size, monthly income and other factors. 

Parents and guardians who have not resided in the United States as Legal Permanent Residents for at least five years are not eligible for NJ FamilyCare.  However, any pregnant woman, regardless of date of entry can apply and be determined eligible.  The income eligibility level for children's coverage is 350% of the federal poverty level.   For example, children in a family of four with a monthly income of up to $6,432 could be eligible for coverage.  The program is also accepting applications from parents and guardians with work income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level.  For example, parents and guardians in a family of four, making up to $2,444 per month, may be eligible.  However, some parents and guardians in a family making up to $2,444 may not be eligible because income such as unemployment, child support and government benefits are counted differently. 

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Parents at higher income levels may have the option of purchasing health insurance for their children at reasonable rates through the New Jersey Family Care ADVANTAGE program.  Applicants will be eligible for New Jersey Family Care only if they have been uninsured for a period of at least six months, or if health coverage was lost due to layoffs or other factors.  Depending on income, other exceptions may apply for families privately paying for health insurance or for COBRA benefits.  For many families, New Jersey Family Care will be free.  Other families will pay a monthly premium based on their income and small co-payments for some services.

Immigrant parent/caretakers who are legal permanent residents of the United States must have had that status for at least five years in order to be eligible for NJ FamilyCare.  Children age 18 or younger in "Qualified" immigrant status are able to apply for NJ FamilyCare, regardless of the date that they entered the United States; they do not have to wait five years to be eligible.  "Qualified" status includes a lawful permanent resident, a refugee, an asylee, a Cuban-Haitian entrant, an undocumented resident whose deportation is being withheld by USCIS, an Amerasian immigrant, a child of an honorably discharged United States military veteran, a child of a member of the United States military, an immigrant paroled for over one year, or an applicant under the Violence Against Women Act.  Certain American Indians born in Canada are treated the same as a United States citizen for the purpose of Medicaid eligibility.

Applicants are required to bring proof of income, citizenship information, social security number, and information about existing health coverage to the enrollment appointment.  Interested applicants are encouraged to call Project Self-Sufficiency or visit the New Jersey Family Care website,, for more information.  Individual appointments at Project Self-Sufficiency are free and open to the public, but registration is required.   Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.   To register, or to find out more about enrollment in the New Jersey Family Care program, visit or call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500.

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