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Senate Health Panel Approves Study Of Familycare Enrollee Employers

TRENTON – The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee 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.

“It is estimated that close to a quarter of a million New Jersey children are currently not covered by any health insurance,” said Senator Buono, D Middlesex. “While we are working to expand the number of those children who are covered by FamilyCare, it is disturbing that over half of these children have parents who work full time but are not offered health benefits. This study will allow us to determine which companies are failing to insure their employees so that we can begin to effectively address this problem.”

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.

“This is just one of the many harmful affects of the spread of Wal-Mart’s influence on the American economy,” said Senator Coniglio, D- Bergen. “It is becoming increasingly common for tremendously profitable, multi-billion dollar corporations to provide no health benefits to its employees, shifting the burden to government-based health insurance programs like NJ FamilyCare. These companies are failing to meet the responsibility they have to make sure that their hard-working employees have access to at least the most basic of health benefits.”

“FamilyCare is meant to protect New Jersey’s neediest residents. It is not meant to subsidize wealthy, multinational corporations. It’s not fair to the employees, their families or the taxpayers of New Jersey,” added Senator Buono.

Senator Coniglio also noted that he was looking forward to the findings of the first 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 help the New Jersey public to determine which companies deserve their business,” explained Senator Coniglio.

The Committee passed the bill by a unanimous vote. It now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

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