DOBI offering $4M in grants to help residents enrolling in N.J.’s health care plan

The New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance announced it is accepting applications for $4 million in grant funding for community organizations that serve as navigators to assist residents with health insurance enrollment for the open enrollment period, which starts Nov. 1.

The application period ends Sept. 17. (Get more details here.)

The funding is to help those who are helping residents seeking coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace.

Department of Banking & Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride said navigators play a key role.

“Navigators are vital to reaching New Jersey’s uninsured and connecting them to health coverage and available financial help,” she said. “Particularly during a public health crisis, ensuring that residents have free, unbiased assistance to help them enroll in a plan is crucial to our goal of ensuring that our residents can get the health coverage and care they deserve.

“This investment represents the (Gov. Phil) Murphy administration’s continued focus on improving access to health care. We encourage community organizations to apply to become a part of our state assister network.”

The Murphy administration has more than doubled its investment in navigators since the state began operating the navigator program in 2019 and has taken numerous actions to improve access to health coverage.

During the inaugural Get Covered New Jersey Open Enrollment Period, enrollment increased by nearly 10% over the previous open enrollment. A total of 53,554 people have signed up for coverage so far during the Special Enrollment Period (Feb. 1-Aug. 1) opened by the state due to COVID-19 and extended through the end of the year to ensure residents have access to coverage and new savings available through the federal American Rescue Plan and the state of New Jersey.

Due to the new savings made available in April, the average monthly net premium for those receiving financial help is at a new historic low of $55 a month, down from $121 a month earlier this year, when the average net premium for those receiving financial help had reached its lowest since the implementation of and availability of federal tax credits in 2014, at $148 a month. Now, nine in 10 enrollees at Get Covered New Jersey qualify for financial help.