Health insurance for low income adults in New Jersey

KM | July 22, 2008

Q: What are the options for affordable health insurance for low income adults in New Jersey?

A: New Jersey health insurance costs are among the nation's highest, due to radical health insurance reform laws passed in the 1990s. As a result, many NJ residents choose to go without health insurance and seek treatment through emergency rooms where they expect to receive at least minimal medical treatment without the ability to pay.

The available health insurance options are straightforward and easy to understand:

1. Commercial Health Insurance - all plans are guaranteed issue and available to all New Jersey residents. As of July 2008, there were eight health insurance companies and HMOs offering coverage in New Jersey.

2. Welfare Plans - those below poverty level income and assets qualify for free health care through federal and state Medicaid programs administered by local county welfare offices.

3. CHIP Program - some low income parents qualify for reduced cost health insurance through an extension of the federal children's health insurance program.

4. Emergency Accident Insurance - when full major medical insurance is not an option, an emergency accident insurance is available to all at low cost starting at less than $50 per month. This coverage is especially important for younger usually healthy uninsured residents who rely on emergency care facilities as the primary source of medical care.

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