Department of Human Services | More than 8,000 additional parents will be eligible for NJ FamilyCare
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For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2007

For Information, Contact:
Suzanne Esterman, 609-292-3703

Income eligibility increases to 133 percent of federal poverty level Sept. 1
Beginning Sept. 1, about 8,000 more parents of children eligible for NJ FamilyCare will be able to apply for the Medicaid-sponsored health insurance program run by the Department of Human Services.This change, for families whose income is 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), was legislated in 2005 with the “Family Health Care Coverage Act” when NJ FamilyCare enrollment reopened to parents and is the final income increase provided in the law. Previously, parents could enroll only if their income was 115 percent of the FPL. At 133 percent of the FPL, the maximum annual income must be $27,465 for a family of four.

As part of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, children in New Jersey are eligible if their families' income is up to 350 percent of the FPL, or $72,275 annually for a family of four. New Jersey's income standard is the nation's highest and may be in jeopardy because of new federal policies and that the program must be reauthorized by Sept. 30.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is that New Jersey provides health care coverage to our working poor families who either cannot afford or do not have access to health insurance,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “The future of our SCHIP program must be secure. Working with our Congressional delegation, we are continuing to fight shortsighted policies that could leave thousands of New Jersey children without the benefits from this crucial program.”

“New estimates say that the number of uninsured people is rising; but we know that if the parents have coverage, they will be more likely to cover their children,” said DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Expanding NJ FamilyCare to this new group of adults will help make a difference in keeping New Jersey families healthy.”

In 2000, New Jersey's SCHIP program began enrolling eligible adults. Two years later, budgetary constraints forced the program to stop enrolling new adults. State Sen. Joseph F. Vitale, D-Woodbridge, led the charge to re-open NJ FamilyCare to adults. In 2005, the senator's bill became law, gradually increasing the income eligibility for adults to 133 percent of the FPL.

“New Jersey must continue to do all it can to provide for those families who need access to health care,” said Sen. Vitale, chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.  “New Jersey is one of many states around the nation that recognizes the burden health care costs can be on low or middle-income families.  In New Jersey , we've sought to increase support for families struggling to meet soaring healthcare costs. I am also confident that Congress will do everything in its power to ensure that SCHIP, which has worked to increase access to care and the well-being of children, will be fully renewed.”

Other primary sponsors of the legislation were: state Sens. Barbara Buono and Wayne R. Bryant, Assemblymembers Robert Morgan, Loretta Weinberg, Robert M. Gordon, John S. Wisniewski, Joan M. Voss, Mary T. Previte and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

NJ FamilyCare provides free or low-cost preventive health care, immunizations, hospitalization, lab tests and X-rays, prescription drugs, dental and mental health services to more than 122,525 children and 89,050 adults. For more information on NJ FamilyCare, visit or call 1-800-701-0710.

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