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News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance

Commissioner Ken Kobylowski

For Immediate Release:
February 22, 2013

For Further Information:
Ed Rogan or Marshall McKnight (609) 292-5064

Enrollment Deadline for NJ Protect Program Imposed
by Federal Government

TRENTON Pursuant to a directive from the federal government, NJ Protect, New Jersey’s individual health insurance program for persons with pre-existing medical conditions, will cease accepting new applications for enrollment after the close of business hours on Friday, March 1.

NJ Protect, New Jersey’s version of a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), is made possible through a contract between the New Jersey Individual Health Coverage Program Board and the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. CCIIO has informed PCIP operators in all 50 states that they must cease accepting new applications but may continue to provide coverage to current policyholders through the end of 2013, the scheduled end of the program. Since August 2010 when New Jersey introduced NJ Protect, 2,484 New Jersey residents have received coverage through the program. As of February 15, 2013, 1,423 New Jersey residents are enrolled in NJ Protect.

“For those who have been considering purchasing health coverage and who meet the eligibility requirements for NJ Protect, you need to know that now is your last chance to enroll,” said Ellen DeRosa, Executive Director, New Jersey Individual Health Coverage Program.

 To qualify for NJ Protect, applicants must be able to submit documentation that they:

  • Are lawfully present in the United States
  • Are residents of New Jersey
  • Have been uninsured for at least the previous six months
  • Have a pre-existing medical condition      

Complete requirements for the program are available on the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance’s website.

Applications and instructions for completing them also are available through the two insurance companies writing coverage through NJ Protect:

Once NJ Protect closes to new applicants, New Jerseyans will still be able to purchase insurance through New Jersey’s Individual Health Coverage Program, but those policies will:

  • Usually have higher premiums
  • Be subject to a 12-month waiting period for coverage of pre-existing medical conditions for people who have had a gap in coverage
  • Have less coverage for prescription drugs

 “Although the federal government is calling this a ‘suspension’ of new enrollments into the PCIP, we have no assurance that the program will be reopened to new applicants,” said DeRosa. “New Jerseyans who are uninsured should regard March 1 as their final opportunity to submit an application through NJ Protect. This is especially so if they happen to have a foreseeable healthcare need.”

Commissioner Kobylowski today sent a letter to United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting that NJ Protect enrollment be extended through the end of the year. Such an extension would provide New Jersey consumers health coverage until the exchange is operational.

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