New Jersey Revised Statutes § 30:4j-9 - Findings, Declarations Relative To Family Health Care Coverage.

30:4J-9 Findings, declarations relative to family health care coverage.
2.The Legislature finds and declares that:

a.The most serious health problem facing approximately 1.2 million New Jersey residents, including approximately 264,000 children, is lack of access to affordable health care coverage, which forces too many New Jersey families to go without needed preventive and other nonemergency care until serious illness requires expensive hospital care.

b.Research has shown that affordable and accessible health care coverage for parents can benefit their children, since parents who have a connection to ongoing health care coverage are more likely to ensure that their children get necessary immunizations and regular checkups from a primary care provider. Adults and children who lack insurance coverage forgo care until medical conditions, which were either preventable or treatable at the outset, require more extensive and expensive intervention or treatment.

c.Children with health care coverage have a significantly greater opportunity to be healthier, realize their full educational and developmental potential and become productive citizens. Providing health care coverage for uninsured adults increases worker productivity and can reduce dependence on public assistance and other State-subsidized programs including hospital charity care.

d.The federal State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), established in 1997 as Title XXI of the federal Social Security Act, allows a state to establish a health insurance program for low-income children. In response to the enactment of SCHIP, New Jersey established the NJ KidCare program in 1997 and the NJ FamilyCare program in 2000 to provide subsidized private health insurance coverage to children whose family income does not exceed 350% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and to their parents if their income does not exceed 200% of the FPL. NJ FamilyCare also provided coverage for adults without children whose income did not exceed 100% of the FPL.

Upon the establishment of NJ FamilyCare, the two programs were combined and administered as NJ FamilyCare. Within a short time, enrollment of adults far exceeded expectations and available funding, and various changes were made to the program to contain costs, such as scaling back benefits, limiting eligibility to parents and other adults who were already enrolled in, or had applied for, the program as of June 14, 2002, and no longer accepting any new applications from parents or other adults.

e.Initially, NJ FamilyCare appreciably reduced the costs of charity care provided by hospitals, but when NJ FamilyCare coverage for parents and other adults was curtailed, charity care costs again increased.

f.In order to (1) ensure that the original purpose of NJ FamilyCare is realized, that is, low income parents as well as their children are given access to health insurance coverage, (2) increase enrollment of children, and (3) maximize federal financial participation under both the State Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare programs, it is necessary and appropriate to restore coverage for parents of children who qualify for Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare, by increasing income eligibility levels, over a three-year period, for parents under the Medicaid program to 133% of the FPL. Further, to provide for a more comprehensive health care system, it is also necessary and appropriate to restore coverage through the Medicaid program, over a three-year period, for adults without dependent children whose income is up to 100% of the FPL, subject to the availability of federal Medicaid funds.

g.Since 2002, the number of parents enrolled in NJ FamilyCare has steadily declined and the growth in coverage of children has slowed. Current application and renewal procedures create unnecessary barriers for applicants and enrollees, and have contributed to a decline in the enrollment of additional children and in the retention of enrollees. Experience in other states suggests that adopting certain enrollment simplification reforms in both the NJ FamilyCare and Medicaid programs can significantly increase enrollment and retention of eligible children and their parents.

h.The expanded health care coverage provided by this act builds on New Jersey's longstanding commitment to assure access to quality health care that is provided in an efficient and effective manner and at a reasonable cost.


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Last modified: October 11, 2016