NJ Online Health Insurance Bill Going Through

The state of New Jersey may now soon have its own online marketplace in 2014 where people can buy their health insurance needs as the bill creating such marketplace just went through the Senate’s approval on Thursday, Oct. 4.

NJ health exchange legislation aims to create a simple, user-friendly process for NJ people to obtain their health insurance needs, this according to Senator Joseph Vitale of Middlesex, who sponsored the bill together with Sen. NIa Gill (Essex). Vitale also said that by having an online health insurance marketplace, NJ residents will then be well-informed of their options and would be given “seamless” access to the coverage types they need. The senator is hopeful that by such exchange, it will provide competition among insurance carriers thus putting a downward pressure on insurance costs.

The bill known as S2135 was passed in the Senate with 21-17 votes and is now waiting for the Assembly’s approval before it will land at the office of Governor Chris Christie for his approval.

By the said legislation, New Jersey will create a volunteer board composed of 10 members who would be appointed both by the governor and the legislature. The said board will have the task to approve health plans to be offered to state residents who need health insurance coverage. The said legislation will also create a Small Business Health Options Program which will allow employers to pool their purchasing power to buy the necessary health insurance coverage for their workers.

The said bill is in line with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act whose constitutionality was earlier upheld by the Supreme Court. With the said federal law, each state will choose between having their own health insurance exchange or join a federal program. Obviously, NJ Senate wants to choose the former.

New Jersey has until Nov. 16 to finally decide whether to create its own health insurance marketplace or choose the federal program.