ENGLEWOOD – Governor Jon S. Corzine thanked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the Obama Administration’s commitment of $286 million for New Jersey’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (NJ FamilyCare) on Friday, June 19. The funding is part of $6 billion in new federal funding that resulted from the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) signed by President Obama in February.
“Thanks to our partners in Washington and through New Jersey’s hardworking Congressional delegation, the struggle to secure children’s health legislation in our state is finally over,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “At a time when our state and nation are facing substantial economic challenges, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to provide access to quality health insurance for our uninsured children. I’m pleased that through our successful NJ FamilyCare program and new Express Lane option, we will continue to make great strides in reaching and enrolling every eligible child in New Jersey.”
CHIPRA allows for “Express Lane Eligibility,” giving states the ability to grant income-eligibility for children for Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare based on gross income or adjusted gross income as indicated by NJ State income tax records or returns.
New Jersey has emerged as a national leader using the Express Lane Eligibility option and is currently the only state in which tax return data is being provided for outreach and enrollment.
Secretary Sebelius praised the State’s successful Express Lane program as a way to insure even more children throughout the state.
The State’s Express Lane Eligibility for tax filers for child enrollment uses a shorter, simpler application; in most cases, no support documents are required for enrollment. By completing and authorizing permission, verification of information is done using available electronic databases which include electronically accessing the income information as stated on the 2008 NJ Tax form.
“This event demonstrates how much we can do together with the partnerships demonstrated here today – with Secretary Sebelius – a true advocate for families in Washington under the President’s leadership – and with a wonderful community provider – both invaluable to the success of NJ FamilyCare,” said Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Our partnership with businesses, schools, hospitals, community and faith-based groups is key to our success in enrolling all of New Jersey’s eligible children.”
NJ FamilyCare is a state and federally funded health insurance program that provides free and low cost health insurance for uninsured children and certain low income parents. In New Jersey, eligibility for children is up to 350% of the federal poverty level (FPL) which is approximately $77,000 for a family of four. To date, nearly 580,000 children and 228,000 parents are enrolled.
Last July, Governor Corzine signed the NJ Health Care Reform Act of 2008 into law, which expanded health insurance eligibility and provided more access to affordable health insurance for all children through various reforms. It also prioritized NJ FamilyCare outreach efforts and mandated that all children 18 and under have health insurance by July 2009 through employer sponsored insurance, Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare or NJ FamilyCare ADVANTAGE.
“There is no greater cause or worthier goal than protecting the well being of our nation’s children, and that is why I, along with Governor Corzine, worked so hard to strengthen the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” Congressman Frank Pallone said. “After a two year battle on the bill, President Obama signed into law this landmark legislation I sponsored that ensures 11 million children have the opportunity to see the doctor of their choice so they can live healthy and strong lives. As we highlight the release of funds for this important program today, I am in Washington working on draft legislation to reform our nation’s healthcare system so all Americans have access to affordable quality healthcare coverage.”
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