The NJ Protect program is expiring today, meaning that sick patients in New Jersey will need other coverage.
Sick patients in New Jersey who had previously been receiving their coverage through the NJ Protect federal high risk pool have been scrambling to obtain other forms of health insurance coverage, as their previous plan is ending today.
The program has come to a close due to the access that patients now have to standard plans.
According to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, by the time the NJ Protect program came into its last half week, there had remained 103 people who were receiving its coverage. From the point in which it was first created, back in mid 2010, that program had given health insurance coverage to 2,909 residents of the state that were in dire need of the assistance but who could not obtain it elsewhere.
The NJ Protect was meant to offer health insurance to those who desperately needed it.
It was made available to residents of the state who had preexisting conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and others, and who had been without a policy for a minimum of six months. It was important because those patients could find it impossible to obtain coverage elsewhere due to the fact that they had preexisting conditions. However, the Affordable Care Act’s health care reform has eliminated an insurer’s ability to reject a patient due to preexisting conditions, eliminating the need for the special NJ Protect program.
Shortly before the close of the program, Ken Kobylowski, the commissioner in the state, said that “It is absolutely vital that consumers act quickly to obtain health insurance so they do not find themselves without coverage.” Initially the program had been set to expire at the start of this year, but that deadline had been extended several times as technical problems on the federal website had made it hard for the people covered by NJ Protect to be able to enroll in alternative policies.
Now, those individuals have received all of their extensions and must have enrolled through the federal health care reform marketplace to ensure that they are protected. Should they enroll before June 30 through the federal exchange, it will be considered retroactive to May 1.