Immigrants sue over health insurance rules

    Immigrants on New Jersey’s FamilyCare now must be residents for at least five years — meaning about twelve thousand people will no longer be eligible for the program.

    Today is the first day New Jersey’s government is operating under a new budget — one that has been both applauded and criticized for its dramatic cuts in spending. The budget has also sparked a lawsuit from a handful of legal immigrants.

    New Jersey’s subsidized health insurance, called FamilyCare, has a few new rules to it. Adults must earn less to qualify, and pay more for monthly premiums. Immigrants on FamilyCare must also be residents for at least five years — meaning about 12,000 people will no longer be eligible for the program.

    Several permanent residents who have been in New Jersey fewer than five years are suing the state; they say they are being unfairly discriminated against. The plaintiffs’ attorney and the Department of Human Services would not comment on the lawsuit. But a department spokeswoman relayed by email that children, pregnant women and others with life-threatening conditions would remain on FamilyCare.

    According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the change in eligibility requirements saves the state $45 million dollars.

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