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Gill Introduces Legislation To Increase Public Awareness Of Health Exchange

Would Require Public Awareness Campaign To Provide Residents With Information About Availability of Affordable, Quality Health Coverage

TRENTON – Senate Commerce Committee Chair Nia H. Gill yesterday introduced legislation to require the establishment of a statewide public awareness campaign to provide residents with information about the health insurance exchange, a virtual marketplace required under the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from which individuals and businesses will be able to purchase affordable, quality health coverage beginning this year.

The measure is part of the senator’s continued effort to ensure that New Jersey residents, including the 1.3 million who are uninsured, benefit to the maximum extent possible under federal health care reform, which was signed into law three years ago by President Obama.

“The health exchange will begin enrollment on October 1st. This gives the state a very short window to provide consumers with information about the various benefits available to them under federal health reform and the process they must undertake to access them,” said Senator Gill, (D-Essex/Passaic). “A statewide public awareness campaign is essential to getting this information to residents and small businesses across New Jersey.”

A Statewide health insurance exchange in New Jersey will begin enrolling eligible persons and small employers on October 1, 2013 and making health care coverage available through the exchange effective January 1, 2014, as required pursuant to the provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The legislation would require the Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) to establish and lead a coordinated statewide public awareness campaign about the health insurance exchange for the general public. The public awareness campaign would require DOBI to: develop a strategy for publicizing the services, eligibility requirements, and enrollment procedures of the insurance exchange; post easily accessible information on its website about the exchange and links to other relevant sources of information and assistance; prepare informational materials and disseminate these materials at public venues throughout the state, as well as in collaboration with other state, county, and municipal government entities.

“While the exchange is intended to make the purchasing process for insurance easier for residents, it is vital that the public is informed about the existence of the exchange and the process they must follow to access it,” said Senator Gill. “A statewide effort to promote awareness of the establishment of the health insurance exchange, the eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures will go a long way to ensure maximum participation and cost savings by our residents and businesses.”