NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University health facilities have joined the growing list of agencies and businesses chipping-in to assist federal employees who are not receiving paychecks during the government shutdown, now in its second month.
Rutgers today announced that its health facilities will defer all copays, deductibles, and balances due from furloughed federal employees and their dependents for any services provided at a university facility or provider.
These deferments are available to all employees and their families who provide proof of federal employment when they receive a bill.
The fees and bills will not have to be paid until a month after the furlough ends, the university said.
“We want our neighbors and the communities we serve to know that they can count on us for uninterrupted care during this stressful time,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for Health Affairs at Rutgers University.
He said the university was taking this step because it is one of the largest health care provider groups in the state.
The university said that Rutgers School of Dental Medicine will also defer most payments, but advised people to please check with their provider to confirm the coverage and applicability.
“Our providers are committed to caring for their patients and encourage those affected by the federal shutdown to keep the appointments they have scheduled and seek out care they may need at this time,” said Vicente Gracias, senior vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs at RBHS and president at Rutgers Health Group.
The announcement comes two days after the university said it would defer tuition payments fees and other costs for students who are federal workers as well as for their dependents.
One day earlier, on Jan. 21, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick announced it would drop copays and deductible payments for the furlough employees and their dependents.
The government shutdown has been going on for 33 days, with President Donald Trump saying he will not sign a bill funding the government unless it includes $5.2 billion for construction of a wall along the nation's southern border to stop immigrants from illegally entering the county. Democrats in the House of Representatives say they will not appropriate those funds.