Health Coverage for ChildrenReaching the Finish Line: Covering All of New Jersey’s Uninsured Children
The New Jersey Health Care Reform Act of 2008 mandates that all children have health insurance through either private insurance or public programs. New Jersey has made steady progress toward achieving this goal.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, since 2008, the state has seen a 29 percent drop in the number of uninsured children and a corresponding 26 percent increase in kids covered by NJ FamilyCare, which provides free or low-cost health coverage to about 712,000 children and over 240,000 low-income parents.
Still, over 105,000 New Jersey children lack health coverage. You can do your part by telling family members, colleagues and neighbors about NJ FamilyCare.
New Jersey has become a leader among the growing number of states working to cover all children and can meet its mandate to cover all children through private insurance or a public program.
Why Covering Kids is Important?
Children who have health coverage receive more consistent preventive care and treatment for any chronic conditions. This avoids expensive emergency room care. Getting and keeping kids insured helps our state spend scarce dollars wisely.
When children are healthy, they can grow and learn, and parents can spend their days at work instead of at the emergency room. This benefits children, parents and employers.
When children have health coverage, their parents also gain the peace of mind of knowing that minor problems won’t become more serious conditions. Health coverage is one of the best ways to keep childhood illnesses, such as asthma, from becoming lifelong health problems.
NJ FamilyCare is among the most cost-effective government programs. The state’s investment is a partnership with the federal government that brings federal dollars into the state.
What is NJ FamilyCare?
The New Jersey state health insurance program is called NJ FamilyCare (NJFC) and includes those eligible for Medicaid. It covers children living in households with annual earnings up to 350 percent of federal poverty guidelines. This means that uninsured children living in households of four with annual income up to $82,425 are eligible for this program.
There is no cost for most families. For those with higher incomes, there is a sliding scale for small co-payments and monthly premiums. NJ FamilyCare includes dental coverage for children.
We all know that children who are healthy do better in school. Parents whose children have medical insurance have the peace of mind of knowing that their children will be able to get regular checkups by doctors and dentists and medical treatment when they are sick or injured.
You can help. If you know of parents who do not have health insurance, encourage them to either visit the FamilyCare website at www.njfamilycare.org or to call 1-800-701-0710 to find out if they are eligible. The application is available and can be completed online.
Over the past few years the application process has been greatly simplified. Applications are available in more than 15 languages. Please help spread the word! Download NJ FamilyCare flyers to distribute to parents you work with or know.
If you have questions e-mail ACNJ at email@example.com.
NJ FamilyCare Advantage
New Jersey parents or guardians who earn too much to qualify for NJ FamilyCare can purchase health insurance for their children through a program called NJ FamilyCare Advantage. It is administered by Horizon NJ Health. For information about this program visit www.horizonNJhealth.com or call 1-800-637-2997
Health Care Exchanges
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act made broad changes to the way health insurance will be provided and paid for in the United States. Under the law, adopted in March 2010, each state must establish a health insurance exchange. This is like a marketplace, providing individuals and small businesses with information and tools to compare different healthcare plans’ costs and benefits.
The goal of a well-planned exchange is to help consumers decide which coverage is best for them and their families and for small businesses to obtain the best coverage for their employees.
ACNJ is as a members of the NJ for Health Care Coalition, a statewide coalition that is promoting the creation of an effective exchange to give individuals and small businesses the opportunity to join together to negotiate for high-quality health plans at affordable prices, much the way larger companies do.
Read the coalition’s principles.
Participating in the exchange is voluntary. People who already have insurance they like can keep it. Individuals and families who will receive federal assistance to pay insurance premiums will use the exchange to buy health insurance.
Learn more about health insurance exchanges.