Background Information on NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid

Medicaid began in the 1960s for very low income people and grew incrementally to include within various age/eligibility categories and rules.

In 1998, there was a national, federally- funded movement to authorize states to provide health insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for children whose family income made them ineligible for Medicaid. Each state was given flexibility to design their program.

In the year 2000, under a separate request to the federal government, New Jersey was given permission to use CHIP federal funds to also cover certain parents. At that time, New Jersey named their program NJ FamilyCare which included parents eligible for NJ FamilyCare using CHIP funds, pregnant women, as well as children. Federal permission to use CHIP funds for parent coverage will expire December 2013.

ACA Expands Medicaid

The Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court, intends to decrease the number of uninsured Americans by expanding eligibility for Medicaid or by providing affordable health insurance options through federal exchanges. NJ took the opportunity to expand Medicaid eligibility to all people earning income below 133% Federal Poverty Level, including single adults or childless couples.

Medicaid eligibility for that group is being expanded from below roughly 32% of the Federal Poverty Level to 133% of the Poverty Level. ACA allows for a small income disregard which could, in some cases, increase those income limits. For more information on other insurance affordability programs visit

Close window