On Thursday, August 15, 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that a total of $67 million was granted to 105 “navigator” organizations across the country to assist people in enrolling in new online health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Healthcare Act, popularly referred to as Obamacare.
Of the $67 million of federal funding, $2 million has been awarded to five New Jersey organizations which will help residents enroll in insurance exchanges which will be open for enrollment Oct. 1, 2013. This money is an addition to the $3.4 million that was granted to 20 New Jersey health centers in July for the purposes of hiring 69 employees to assist state residents navigate the new exchanges. Aetna, AmeriHealth, Horizon and Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey have all applied to sell health insurance on the New Jersey exchange.
The navigator organizations awarded grants in New Jersey include the Center For Family Services Inc. servicing Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties; The Urban League of Hudson County which will be partnering with the Urban Leagues for Bergen, Morris, and Union counties; Public Health Solutions which plans to partner with community-based organizations in New Jersey to reach Hudson and Essex counties; the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties Inc. and Orange ACA Navigator Project. These organizations will guide people in choosing and applying for an appropriate plan, explain the new rules and mandates as well as where residents can apply for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The new healthcare legislation requires all Americans have insurance coverage starting in 2014 or face penalties of $95 or 1% of family income, whichever is greater. Enrollment in the exchanges begins October 1, but coverage does not begin until January 1, 2014.