New Jersey

This Just In via NJ Governor Murphy and Get Covered New Jersey:

Governor Murphy Announces Health Insurance Signups In New Jersey Surpass Previous Two Years

  • Urges Residents to Get Covered During New COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period
  • 9.4% Increase in Plan Selections from 2020, Enrollment Remains Open Until May 15

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced that health insurance signups through New Jersey’s new state-based marketplace surpassed the Open Enrollment Period for the previous two years in New Jersey. Plan selections for 2021 coverage increased 9.4 percent over last year’s Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period, as the state successfully expanded access to health coverage through its new state-based marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey, during its first open enrollment period.

...Annnnd add Get Covered NJ to the list:

Governor Murphy Announces Extension of Affordable Care Act Enrollment Period for Uninsured In New Jersey In Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

  • New Jersey Joins Biden Administration in Effort to Assist Residents Through Special Enrollment Period

TRENTON – Following the Biden Administration’s health care action today, Governor Phil Murphy announced the State is extending the health insurance enrollment period for uninsured residents to sign up for coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

via Get Covered NJ:

As Open Enrollment Deadline Nears, Residents Urged to Sign Up for Health Insurance at Get Covered New Jersey

  • ​8 in 10 Qualify For Financial Help to Lower Costs

TRENTON – As the Open Enrollment deadline nears, Governor Phil Murphy, Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, and state legislators today urged residents in need of health insurance for 2021 to sign up for a plan at Get Covered New Jersey.

Open enrollment for the state’s official health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey ends January 31, 2021. Commissioner Caride reminded New Jerseyans that open enrollment is the only time during the year when residents can enroll in coverage, unless they have a major life event that qualifies them for a Special Enrollment Period or they qualify for NJ FamilyCare. With nearly two weeks left in open enrollment, now is the time to visit Get Covered New Jersey to shop for quality, affordable health insurance and to enroll in a plan by the January 31, 2021 deadline.

via Get Covered NJ:

Final Days to Enroll in Health Insurance at Get Covered New Jersey for January 1st Coverage

  • ​Residents Must Enroll by Dec. 31 for Coverage Beginning in the New Year; 8 in 10 Qualify For Financial Help

TRENTON – Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride today reminded New Jersey residents that there are three days left to enroll in health coverage that starts on the first of the year. New Jersey residents can shop for quality, affordable health insurance at the state’s official health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey. Residents must select a plan by December 31, 2020 for coverage beginning January 1, 2021.

via the New Jersey Dept. of Banking & Insurance:

NJ Department of Banking and Insurance Cautions Residents Shopping for Health Insurance Against Health Plans that Do Not Provide Comprehensive Coverage

  • Warning Follows Action Against Aliera, Trinity for Using Deceptive Practices and Misleading Consumers

TRENTON — New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride today urged residents shopping for health insurance this open enrollment period to be aware of health plans with limited coverage that – unlike the health plans available at Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance Marketplace – do not cover basic services and pre-existing conditions.

It's turned into an annual tradition: The official annual ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from November 1st - December 15th, but most of the state-based ACA exchanges have later deadlines. hThen, right around the 12/15 point, it begins: One by one, some of the state-based exchanges announce further extensions of their deadlines to #GetCovered for the upcoming year.

In some cases they simply bump out the deadline for coverage starting in January, with the final "hard" deadline for February or March coverage staying where it is. In other cases they were never allowing Open Enrollment start dates past January to begin with, so it's the hard deadline which is being extended.

In any event, here's this year's batch of announcements; note that this list could grow longer over the next week or two:

Last week, Get Covered New Jersey, NJ's brand-new state-based ACA exchange, reminded New Jersey residents to enroll via Open Enrollment via the #GetCovered2021 campaign. The press release also mentioned, in passing, that nearly 227,000 NJ residents have already signed up for 2021, over 20,000 of whom are new enrollees.

Today, they posted a much more detailed breakout of their enrollment data so far, as well as reminding residents that unlike most states, New Jersey's Open Enrollment Period isn't over until the end of January, although they have to enroll by December 31st for coverage starting January 1st:

via Get Covered New Jersey, NJ's brand-new state-based ACA exchange:

Governor Murphy Designates December 10th “Get Covered Day,” Encourages New Jerseyans to Get Covered During Open Enrollment

  • Proclamation is part of Get Covered 2021, a National Campaign to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 & Encourage Residents to Enroll in Health Coverage

TRENTON — Joining with state partners from across the country in encouraging residents to enroll in health insurance during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period, Governor Phil Murphy issued a proclamation designating today, December 10, 2020, as “Get Covered Day” in New Jersey. Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride reminded residents that the deadline to enroll for coverage starting in the New Year is December 31st.

At long last, I've finally wrapped up my 50-state (+DC) 2021 Rate Change project...or at least the preliminary rate filings; I have the final/approved rate changes for 18 states as of this writing.

I'm finishing things off with New Jersey, and unlike the past half-dozen or so states, I am able to run a properly weighted average for both the individual and small group markets in the Garden State even though, like many other states, the actuarial memos are either unavailable or heavily redacted.

I'm able to do this thanks to NJ's policy of providing public quarterly reports tracking their individual and small group market enrollment, including breakouts by carrier (they also break it out by metal level, HMO vs. PPO and so forth, which is awesome for data wonks).

In any event, based on the Q2 2020 report (which includes enrollment data updated through the end of June), 2021 enrollees in New Jersey's individual market are looking at average premium increases of around 4.1%, while small group plans are going up by roughly 2.6% on average.

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.

Last May, New Jersey Democratic legislators were pushing through over a dozen bills which would effectively lock in nearly all of the ACA's "Blue Leg Protections", as I refer to them, at the state level. The main reason for this, of course, is to replicate federal ACA protections for enrollees just in case the U.S. Supreme Court does ultimately strike down the Affordable Care Act (or at least strikes down the consumer protection parts of it).

Well, I kind of lost track of the status of those bills over the summer and fall, but apparently most of them passed through both the New Jersey state House and Senate because just moments ago, NJ Governor Phil Murphy issued the following press release:

 

This isn't the biggest development in the world, but exactly a year ago today I made a big fuss about how New Jersey (and DC) had reinstated their own health insurance individual mandate penalties after the federal version was zeroed out by Congressional Republicans...but didn't seem to be going through much effort to let people know about the penalty.

While Massachusetts had launched a massive multi-media awareness/education blitz statewide to make sure people knew that they had dusted off their pre-ACA coverage mandate requirement, New Jersey and DC didn't appear to be doing much, if anything, to let people know that they'd face a stiff tax penalty if they didn't either #GetCovered or qualify for an exemption.

As I noted at the time, just like the Doomsday Device in Dr. Strangelove, it completely defeats the whole point of having a penalty if no one knows it exists.

This was posted by NJ Governor Phil Murphy a week ago but it's still noteworthy, especially considering that NJ is in the process of splitting off from HC.gov onto their own full ACA exchange next year as Nevada just did:

Governor Murphy and New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Kick Off ACA Open Enrollment Period

Governor Announces Strengthened ACA Efforts, including $3.1 Million to Support Outreach and Enrollment Efforts and Bolstered Get Covered NJ Awareness Campaign

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy, joined by Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) Commissioner Marlene Caride and enrollment assisters from across the state, today 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.

This Just In, via the New Jersey Dept. of Banking & Insurance...

NJ Department of Banking and Insurance Releases Health Plan Rates
On Average, NJ Individual Market Rates for 2020 Remain 1.4% Lower Than 2018

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today released rates for health insurance plans in the individual market effective January 1, 2020. On average, rates for 2020 will remain 1.4 percent lower than they were in 2018, due to policy actions taken by the Murphy Administration to stabilize the insurance market. 

OK, hold up, read that again: 1.4% lower than 2018 premiums, not 1.4% lower than 2019. That's kind of an important distinction. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad thing to note, but it's not that impressive considering some other states are seeing rate reductions from 2018. Of course, there's a lot of factors at play which vary from state to state as well.

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