New Jersey: Say hello to Get Covered NJ!

It was a little over a year ago that New Jersey legislators passed, after some last-minute drama, a bill to follow in the footsteps of Nevada and split off from the federal ACA exchange, HealthCare.Gov (there's actually a dozen other states which also operate their own full state-based exchanges as well, but 11 of them were never hosted by the federal exchange in the first place. The exception is Idaho, which was hosted by HC.gov for one year before splitting off, but that was always their plan from the start).

New Jersey's ACA portal website, Get Covered NJ, has actually been live for two enrollment periods already, but until now it was just that--an information portal only. The actual healthcare policy shopping/enrollment process was still handled through HealthCare.Gov.

Starting this November 1st, however, GetCovered NJ will handle everything having to do with ACA enrollment...and, like Pennsylvania's new state-based exchange, Pennie, GetCovered NJ has also apparently already ported over the data for existing HC.gov enrollees to their new platform.

From the GetCovered NJ website:

Get Covered New Jersey is the state’s official health insurance Marketplace. It is where individuals and families can easily shop for and buy health coverage, and the only place to receive financial help. Beginning in mid-October, you can use GetCoveredNJ to compare health plans and calculate costs, so you are prepared to choose the plan that works best for you and your family when the Open Enrollment Period begins November 1. It is the only place you will be able to apply for financial help to lower your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. It can also find if you might qualify for free or low-cost health insurance through New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance program, NJ FamilyCare.

The state’s Marketplace, GetCoveredNJ, was established by law by Governor Phil Murphy on June 28, 2019. The law is part of the state’s work to improve access to health coverage and care for New Jersey residents and build up the progress made through the Affordable Care Act. With its own Marketplace, New Jersey can improve access to coverage for residents. It can also invest in more outreach and trained experts who provide enrollment help right in the community.

With a state Marketplace, New Jersey can also have a longer Open Enrollment Period. For the new plan year, Open Enrollment will start November 1, 2020 and end January 31, 2021.

GetCoveredNJ is focused on increasing access to affordable, high-quality health insurance for residents of New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) operates GetCoveredNJ.

A couple of important things to note:

  • Window-shopping starts on October 15th, about a week earlier than HC.gov usually opens it up, I believe.
  • Like most other state-based exchanges, including the also brand-new Pennie exchange, GetCoveredNJ is extending their Open Enrollment Period out beyond the official 12/15 federal exchange deadline (Pennie's is 1/15). This means that at least 4 exchanges will run through the end of January this year (CA, DC, NY & NJ).