“Families across the nation continue to grapple daily with the effects of skyrocketing healthcare costs,” Governor Corzine said. “This new partnership demonstrates New Jersey's strong commitment to ensuring that our children have access to the healthcare services they deserve. By using this shorter, simpler application, New Jersey now has the opportunity to identify and cover even more of the uninsured. I am confident that we will emerge as a national leader using the Express Lane eligibility enrollment option.”
Two other states, Iowa and Maryland, ask tax filers to identify uninsured children on their state income tax forms. New Jersey is the only state where the information is being used to encourage enrollment in its FamilyCare program.
“By checking off one small box, nearly a quarter of a million New Jersey residents have indicated that there's at least one uninsured child in their households,” said Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez , referring to the information already culled from the tax year 2008 documents.
“These families will receive a newer, simplified version of our NJ FamilyCare application – the Express Lane application – within 90 days so they can enroll their children in health insurance. We're proud to be a part of a process that can bring some relief to families as they struggle with making so many critical choices during these tough economic times.”
The Department of Human Services, working in collaboration with the Department of Treasury to identify children eligible for Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare, will begin mailing the new “ Express Lane ” applications in May.
“It's clear our health care system is broken in many ways, and few things are more important to New Jersey families than fixing it,” said Senator Robert Menendez. “FamilyCare and other state children's health insurance programs like it are part of the solution. I'm proud that one of our first actions in Congress this year, working with President Obama, was to finally ensure health coverage through FamilyCare for 100,000 New Jersey children who fall in the gap between Medicaid and expensive private insurance. And now, I believe we're on the verge of a major health care reform that will bring down costs and expand access for all New Jerseyans.”
Children in families with annual household incomes of less than $77,175 (for a family of four or 350 percent of the federal poverty level) can qualify for NJ FamilyCare, the state- and federally-funded health care program.
“This progressive state initiative could more than triple the number of children who have access to dependable and affordable health care,” said Senator Joe Vitale, Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
NJ FamilyCare provides comprehensive health care coverage that is free or low cost for qualified uninsured children and certain low income parents. Presently, 131,586 children and 127, 604 adults are enrolled in NJ FamilyCare.
Photos from Governor Corzine's public events are available
in the Governor's Newsroom section on the State of New Jersey web page, http://www.nj.gov/ governor/news/