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Senate Approves Study Of Familycare Enrollee Employers

TRENTON – The Senate approved legislation today sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Joseph Coniglio that would require the Commissioner of Human Services to prepare an annual report identifying which large companies have employees whose families are enrolled in the NJ FamilyCare program.

“With over one million New Jersey residents without health insurance, the State is working hard to find ways to provide those individuals with at least basic health care,” said Senator Buono, D Middlesex. “This job is only made tougher by the fact that half of all uninsured adults work full time for an employer who either doesn’t provide health insurance or provides health insurance that is unaffordable to the individual. These individuals must then seek coverage from government health care programs, like FamilyCare, putting more pressure on an already strained system.”

The bill, S-539, would require the Commission of Human Services to submit a report each year by February 1 that includes the following information about each employer in the State with 50 or more NJ FamilyCare enrollees: the employer’s name and address, unless the employer has more than one work site, in which case the employer’s name and the number of work sites and the counties in which the work sites are located; the number of NJ FamilyCare enrollees who are employed by the employer; the number of NJ FamilyCare enrollees who are spouses or dependents of employees of the employer; whether the employer offers health insurance coverage to its employees; and the cost to the State of providing NJ FamilyCare coverage for the employer’s employees and their dependents.

“As large, discount chain retailers further dominate the American economy, I fear that programs like FamilyCare are going to be left to pick up the health care tab for these companies,” said Senator Coniglio, D- Bergen. “We must begin to combat this practice now, letting tremendously profitable, multi-billion dollar corporations know that it’s not acceptable to leave their employees without health benefits – and that NJ FamilyCare is not another corporate subsidy.”

Senator Buono also noted that it’s not just large corporations who have employees enrolled in FamilyCare. “This study will also help us identify how many small companies are dependent on FamilyCare to provide health insurance to their employees. Hopefully the results will give us a good base to start developing a comprehensive plan to make sure that all New Jersey companies can afford to provide their employees with basic health benefits,” added Senator Buono.

Senator Coniglio echoed the importance of the information that will be provided by the annual report.

“You can tell a lot about a company and the people who run it by how they treat their employees. Hopefully this report will be a wake-up call to some New Jersey businesses that it’s time for them to get their act together and provide their employees with the health insurance they need,” explained Senator Coniglio.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 36-0. It now awaits consideration by the Assembly.

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