Governor Phil Murphy, joined by Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) Commissioner Marlene Caride and enrollment assisters from across the state, has announced Navigator grant awards totaling $1.1 million to provide enrollment assistance to residents shopping for health coverage during the six-week open enrollment window. DOBI plans to release approximately $500,000 more in grants in the coming days.
As part of the Administration’s efforts, DOBI has bolstered the Get Covered New Jersey campaign with $1.5 million in funding, a significant increase when compared with last year that will allow for an expanded awareness campaign. The Get Covered NJ campaign will include a broad public awareness strategy including advertising on social media, transit, radio, and other mediums. The campaign will specifically aim to target underinsured communities.
Additionally, DOBI will launch a new online shopping tool that will help make shopping for health care coverage simpler during this year’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs November 1 to December 15. The new tool will be available on the state’s Get Covered New Jersey website, GetCovered.NJ.gov, during open enrollment and will allow residents to easily compare health plans on and off the exchange, and see if they qualify for financial assistance.
“Health care is a fundamental right, and providing residents with access to the coverage they need is a top priority of our administration,” said Governor Murphy. “We want to ensure that all residents have the assistance they need to obtain the health coverage they deserve…. We encourage residents to prepare for the upcoming enrollment season, and to remind their loved ones to get covered.”
As part of the move to a State-Based Exchange, New Jersey will operate a State-Based Exchange on the Federal Platform (SBE-FP) this year. As an SBE-FP, the state is able to invest additional resources to help residents with enrollment.
“Together, with our partners across state government, we have remained steadfastly focused on ensuring New Jersey residents have the health coverage they need,” said State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “It’s crucial for every resident to make sure they have the minimum level of coverage required by law. This will ensure that families have adequate coverage to safeguard their health in times of need and that they also avoid incurring the legally mandated Shared Responsibility Payment when it comes time to file their 2019 taxes.”
This year residents will benefit from increased enrollment services due to the state’s move to an SBE-FP. The Department of Banking and Insurance is announcing the award of navigator grants to five organizations totaling $1.1 million to provide enrollment assistance to residents shopping for health coverage during this year’s open enrollment period. Eligible organizations were those that served as previous federally funded Navigators in New Jersey. The following organizations received awards:
• Center For Family Services Inc., $450,000
• Family Resource Network, $165,835
• FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties/Fulfill, $146,307
• The Orange’s ACA Navigator Project (OACANP), $200,000
• Urban League of Hudson County, $150,258
DOBI previously announced an award of $300,000 to the Center For Family Services (CFS) to continue serving as a Navigator for 2020. CFS served as the state’s only federal Navigator in New Jersey in 2019 and was the sole New Jersey applicant for federal Navigator funding prior to the program transfer. As part of the transition to an SBE-FP, the Department accepted Center For Family Services’ federal application for state funding, and permitted the organization to apply for additional funds through the Request for Applications. The department intends to award the organization an additional $150,000.
Navigators will help consumers enroll and re-enroll in a health insurance plan through the State-Based Exchange on the Federal Platform. The organizations will provide outreach and education services, in addition to enrollment assistance.
The state also intends to award funding to at least 10 additional organizations, engaging an estimated 100 assisters to conduct outreach projects and provide consumer assistance to residents in the state. Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization Outreach Project Grant Awardees and amounts will be announced shortly.
The state will transition to a State-Based Exchange (SBE) for plan year 2021. The move to an SBE will give the state more control over the open enrollment period; access to data that can be used to better regulate the market, conduct targeted outreach and inform policy decisions; and allow user fees to fund exchange operations, consumer assistance, outreach and advertising. n
Information on the Open Enrollment Period and available over-the-phone and in-person assistance may be found on the Get Covered New Jersey website at GetCovered.NJ.gov.