Enrollment in health care marketplace up ahead of Jan. 31 enrollment deadline
Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act health insurance plans offered on New Jersey’s marketplace will end Tuesday after a banner year that saw increases in enrollment nationally.
Enrollment in plans offered through the Garden State’s marketplace also saw an upswing, rising slightly to 325,524 through Jan. 14, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. By last January, 324,266 New Jerseyans had enrolled through the marketplace, a New Jersey official said.
The gains lagged slightly behind increases at the national level, where enrollment rose 13% year-over-year through mid-January to a total of 16.3 million, but New Jersey’s final numbers will include 15 additional days of open enrollment.
“I would say that the process is going smooth. If anything, we’re having even more enrollments because people’s incomes have been changing,” said Gabrielle Escribano, director of Affordable Care Act enrollment at the New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund. “More people are gaining employment, so that’s been very smooth.”
In part, the rise in enrollment is due to upcoming changes to Medicaid that are expected to move hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans off of the public plan beginning in April, Escribano said.
But outreach efforts to those enrolled in NJ FamilyCare, the state’s publicly funded health insurance program, launched months ago by the state and advocacy groups appear to have driven an increase in enrollment in exchange-based plans in New Jersey, she said.
“Having health coverage for you and your family really helps you sustain your livelihood,” she said. “It’s hard to get employment and stay with employment if you’re not taking care of yourself as well.”
Coverage offered through New Jersey’s exchange is subsidized, and as many as nine in 10 enrollees receive premium assistance. Individuals making up to $81,540 and families of four with incomes of no more than $166,500 are likely to qualify for state assistance.
Those who do not enroll before the open enrollment period ends on Jan. 31 may still be able to obtain a plan from the state marketplace after a major life event, like a pregnancy, marriage, or job loss.
Those making no more than 200% of the federal poverty level — that represents $27,180 for a single filer or $55,000 for a family of four — can qualify for a special enrollment period that allows them to obtain a marketplace plan at any point of the year.
Parents can also obtain health coverage for their child through NJ FamilyCare regardless of their immigration status as long as they meet Medicaid’s income eligibility requirements.