Federal Government Ends Program That Assisted Nearly 3,000 New Jerseyans

TRENTON, NJ - Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Ken Kobylowski today urged the approximately 100 consumers remaining in NJ Protect, the State’s pre-existing condition insurance plan (PCIP), to act promptly to secure health insurance after the federal government announced today that the program will end on April 30.

“It is absolutely vital that consumers act quickly to obtain health insurance so they do not find themselves without coverage,” Kobylowski said.

New Jersey residents enrolled in NJ Protect have the option to purchase replacement coverage through New Jersey’s Individual Health Coverage Program. If they do so by April 30, the coverage will take effect on May 1. Information about plans sold through the Individual Health Coverage Program is available at: www.dobi.nj.gov/ihc/ 

NJ Protect policyholders who wish to purchase health insurance through the federal Marketplace, or exchange, can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.

Since it was launched in the summer of 2010, NJ Protect has provided health insurance to 2,909 New Jerseyans, while other guaranteed-issue states that participated in the federal program saw only a few dozen people sign up.

PCIPs were created in all states in 2010. The program was open to individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, who had not had health insurance coverage for six months. States had the option of allowing the federal government to run their PCIPs or running their own. New Jersey introduced its state-run program, NJ Protect, in August 2010.

At the time the federal government projected a three-year allocation of $141 million to New Jersey to run the program. NJ Protect will expend approximately $105 million by the time all costs are calculated. Like PCIPs in other states, NJ Protect was originally scheduled to end on December 31, 2013 but was extended by the federal government through April 30 of this year.

“I am proud of our Administration’s hard work and creativity and thankful to our two health insurance partners, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and AmeriHealth, for helping to make this program a success,” Commissioner Kobylowski said.