A New Jersey lawmaker has come out with a long-range plan to require all residents in the state to own health insurance.
New Jersey state Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Woodbridge, wants to start out by getting a higher percentage of eligible children enrolled in the state’s NJ FamilyCare Program for children in homes earning up to 350% of the federal poverty level, or $74,200 per year for a family of 4, and the state’s NJ FamilyCare Advantage program, which permits higher-income families to buy coverage for their children at a discount.
Vitale, chairman of the New Jersey Senate Health Committee, wants to require that all residents ages 18 and younger have health coverage, use tax records to locate children in need of coverage, and set up an automatic public health plan enrollment system for children who come to hospitals and doctors’ offices without health coverage.
He unveiled his proposal at a news conference with New Jersey state Sen. Robert Singer, R-Ocean, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Health Committee.
Vitale also is proposing changes in the rules governing the individual and small group health insurance markets.
One change that could have an immediate effect on health insurers and insurance producers would be a relaxation of New Jersey’s community rating rules for individual coverage.
Today, carriers can consider age when setting rates only when they are selling relatively unpopular “bare-bones” policies.
Vitale’s proposal calls for making conventional individual medical coverage more affordable for younger individuals, by letting insurers charge conventional coverage rates that are up to 350% higher for older insureds than for younger insureds.
Other proposal provisions would:
–Attempt to increase individual market competition by requiring small employer carriers to sell individual coverage.
–Require individual and small employer carriers to set rates so that the anticipated ratio of claims to premiums would be at least 80%.
–Require brokers to notify employers in writing about commissions, service fees and other revenue.