Some in NJ risk losing insurance coverage by putting off renewal

 Raymond Castro, senior policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, says it's important to simplify the renewal process for New Jersey residents who signed up for the Family Health program through the Affordable Care Cat. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Raymond Castro, senior policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, says it's important to simplify the renewal process for New Jersey residents who signed up for the Family Health program through the Affordable Care Cat. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

The number of New Jersey residents enrolled in the state’s Family Care health insurance program has increased since Medicaid eligibility expanded three years ago. Now, there are concerns some enrollees might lose their coverage.

 

Those who used the federal insurance marketplace to enroll in Family Care are required to provide income information so the state can determine whether they’re still eligible.

Despite getting several renewal notices, many enrollees have not responded, said Raymond Castro, senior analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective.

“A lot of them have two or three jobs. They have kids. So they’re juggling a lot of different issues,” he said. “It’s just difficult for them to find the time.”

That’s why it’s important to make the renewal process as simple as possible, Castro said Wednesday.

“Many of these people are eligible for food stamps or are on food stamps, so you already have their income. So why not use that income to determine their eligibility?” he said. “That way you don’t have to fill out the paperwork all over again.”

Community groups familiar with the families insured in the program could remind them to renew, suggested Castro.

“Perhaps we should be working more with community groups where there’s a trust level for these individuals and also we need to make it as simple as possible,” he said. “The federal government actually gives the state a lot of flexibility.”

Otherwise, individuals face a penalty of as much as $695 for violating the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate.

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