Six-Week Period Runs Nov. 1-Dec. 15

TRENTON, NJ  — As part of the Murphy Administration’s new campaign to get more New Jerseyans insured during the Affordable Care Act’s limited open enrollment period, State departments and agencies today took action to promote and encourage enrollment in health coverage during the six-week window. Today is the first day of open enrollment.

Governor Phil Murphy this week announced the launch of Get Covered New Jersey, a state public awareness campaign to promote the Affordable Care Act’s 2019 open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. As part of the campaign, State departments and agencies that interact with the public are distributing information and materials and directing residents to coverage options and to free enrollment assistance through a new state website, GetCovered.NJ.gov.

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Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Shereef Elnahal is asking all medical and behavioral healthcare providers in the state to encourage and help their patients and clients get the coverage that can save their lives.

In a letter to all contracted providers, hospitals, Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers, doctors, nurses, counselors, and other professionals on the front lines of the healthcare system, the Commissioner urged the medical community to stress the need for insurance and to direct patients to resources where they can get it. The Commissioner also asked the providers to display and distribute various promotional materials found on the website.

“As a doctor, I have seen first-hand the difference health coverage can make in determining people’s health outcomes. Governor Murphy’s commitment to increasing the number of people with health insurance will certainly result in a stronger and healthier New Jersey, and the Department of Health is committed to doing everything it can to educate people about the need to be insured,” Commissioner Elnahal wrote in his letter to providers.

Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride sent a letter to community organizations, public and nonprofit agencies and grassroots organizations directing them to materials available for distribution in their communities.

“Through Get Covered New Jersey, we are working with agencies and nonprofit partners to make sure residents hear the message that now is the time to buy health insurance for next year so that they can get the coverage they deserve,” said Commissioner Caride. “Part of our effort is ensuring that community organizations have access to materials and information that can help connect residents to health coverage. There is only a six-week window to enroll, so we want to ensure that New Jerseyans know that health plan rates are down in New Jersey and they may qualify for financial help to lower the cost of their plan.”

The Department of Human Services is working with five community organizations that served as ACA navigators to help enroll people in health coverage. It also held an outreach and enrollment event today with New Jersey Citizen Action at the Dover Farmers Market in Dover. In addition, Commissioner Carole Johnson penned a letter promoting the Open Enrollment Period and urging residents to use GetCovered.NJ.gov or call 877-9-NAVIG8 (877-962-8448) to talk about health insurance options and get help enrolling. The letter will be used as part of the Department’s outreach efforts with its service recipients and their families and caregivers.

“We want to ensure residents don’t miss the six-week window to enroll and that they know where to go to if they need help understanding their options,” Commissioner Johnson said. “Low-cost plans are available and New Jerseyans should visit GetCovered.Nj.gov to find out if they qualify for financial assistance with coverage.  Being insured means peace of mind for New Jersey families, and the time to act is now.”

The Motor Vehicle Commission has posted materials in English and Spanish in all 39 of its agencies. Information is also being distributed by the Department of Treasury.

Get Covered New Jersey is the first coordinated health coverage public awareness campaign conducted by the State of New Jersey since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The program promotes health coverage options available to residents through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace and in the individual insurance market during Open Enrollment, as well as through the state’s NJFamilyCare program year-round.

On January 21, 2018, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order Number 4, directing that all State entities that regularly interact with the public provide information regarding the Affordable Care Act marketplace and ways to enroll. The Get Covered New Jersey public awareness campaign is an extension of this effort.

The Get Covered New Jersey campaign builds on the policy actions taken by the state to defend the ACA and ensure that residents have access to health coverage and care. The Governor signed a law that requires residents to have health coverage or pay a penalty, called a Shared Responsibility Payment, unless they qualify for an exemption. It takes effect January 1, 2019.

President Trump’s administration cut the open enrollment period in half, from three months in 2016 to six weeks, in 2017 and 2018. It cut the advertising budget for the Affordable Care Act enrollment period by 90 percent, from $100 million in 2016 to $10 million in 2017 and in 2018 and has cut funding for navigators by 79 percent since 2016, resulting in New Jersey receiving over $1.5 million less to conduct outreach for 2018.