Governor Murphy and Legislative Partners Announce Bill Package to Protect Affordable Care Act in New Jersey

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By: Kevin Howard

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy announced last week a package of bills aiming to enshrine the basic protections of the Affordable Care Act in the state.

Murphy alongside with members of the state’s Assembly and Senate made the announcement at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson on Friday, May 31st.

The bills would keep no-cost preventative care, exclusions for preexisting conditions, allowing children to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, and protecting maternity care as an essential health benefit.

“At a time when the Affordable Care Act is under constant attack in Washington, we have a responsibility to provide access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage for all New Jersey residents,” Murphy said. “I am honored to work with our legislative partners to ensure that New Jersey sets a higher standard in our nation’s health care discussion by enshrining the principles of the Affordable Care Act into state law.”

The bills also reaffirm Murphy’s commitment to protecting women’s reproductive rights in the state. One bill (A5508/S3804) would require coverage for some contraceptives and another (A5509/S3805) requires health benefits coverage for breastfeeding support

The bill (A5499/S3807) would authorize the Department of Banking and Insurance to create a State-Based Exchange (SBE) and would allow funding for the SBE.

According to NJ.com, the state has asked the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to take control of New Jersey’s health exchange. Murphy says the exchange should be ready around 2021.

“We have taken significant steps in New Jersey to protect access to health care coverage, but it is clear that we need to do more,” New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride said. “Creating a State-Based Exchange will allow New Jersey to establish policies that provide greater stability in the market, improved access to coverage for residents and increased protections against federal efforts to destabilize the market. I look forward to continuing the work of the Murphy administration, in partnership with the Legislature, to ensure residents have access to the care and health care coverage they deserve through the preservation of protections afforded by the ACA including the development of a State-Based Exchange.”

Below is the list of bills:

A5499/S3807 (Conaway, McKeon/Gill, Vitale) – Authorizes DOBI to establish State-based exchange for certain health benefits plans.
A5500/S3809 (Greenwald, Lopez/Pou, Lagana) – Expands rate review process in DOBI for certain individual and small employer health benefits plans.
A5501/S3802 (McKeon, Vainieri Huttle/Pou, Weinberg) – Requires continuation of health benefits dependent coverage until child turns 26 years of age.
A5502/S3811 (Sumter, Verrelli, Reynolds-Jackson/Gopal, Diegnan) – Revises definition of small employer under New Jersey Small Employer Health Benefits Program.
A5503/S3806 (Reynolds-Jackson, Swain/Vitale, Cryan) – Establishes open enrollment period under Individual Health Coverage Program.
A5504/S3812 (Benson, Schaer/Cryan, Diegnan) – Applies 85 percent loss ratio requirement to large group health insurance plans.
A5505/S3810 (Quijano, Pinkin/Singleton, Lagana) – Revises certain permissible rating factors for premiums charged for individual and small employer health benefits plans.
A5506/S3808 (Tully, Danielsen/Singleton, Diegnan) – Repeals statute authorizing offering of “Basic and Essential” health benefits plans under individual health benefits and small employer health benefits plans and other statutes concerning basic health plan; makes conforming amendments.
A5507/S3803 (McKeon, Conaway/Pou, Ruiz) – Requires health benefits coverage for certain preventive services.
A5508/S3804 (Zwicker, Murphy/Ruiz, Pou) – Revises law requiring health benefits coverage for certain contraceptives.
A5509/S3805 (Mosequera, Timberlake/Ruiz, Pou) – Requires health benefits coverage for breastfeeding support.
A5510/S3813 (McKeon, DeAngelo/Vitale, Weinberg) – Expands “Law Against Discrimination” to apply to health programs and activities and to prohibit discrimination based on association with individuals in protected classes.
S562/A5248 (Gill, Singleton/Conaway, Mukherji, McKeon) – Preserves requirement that health insurance plans cover essential health benefits.
S626/A1733 (Vitale, Diegnan/Vainieri Huttle, Chiaravalloti, Downey, Danielsen) – Clarifies prohibition on preexisting condition exclusions in health insurance policies.



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