Health care coverage bill slated for hearing

TRENTON – Sen. Joe Vitale, (D-19), Woodbridge, is seeking to restore health care coverage to a group of adults that he said were excluded during the budget process earlier this year.

Vitale’s bill, S3038, which would restore subsidized coverage to approximately 1,200 adults, will be heard Thursday in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Vitale said the bill affects childless adults earning no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

The money, about $4 million, is in the budget. It was not one of the items vetoed by the governor, Vitale said.

However, the fiscal year 2012 appropriations act ended enrollment in NJ FamilyCare for those formerly enrolled in Health ACCESS as of Aug. 1. This bill would restore coverage for those individuals.

He said that the restoration must done either legislatively or administratively, and there have been discussions with the Health Department toward that end.   In the meantime, he said, it may be necessary to address the situation through legislation.

The bill, in part, states, “Enrollment of single adults or couples without dependent children who were enrolled in the New Jersey Health ACCESS program on October 31, 2001, and were enrolled in and eligible for the NJ FamilyCare program as a former Health ACCESS enrollee on July 31, 2011, shall be reinstated, and any health care expenses incurred by any such individual prior to the date of enactment of this act shall be covered as though the individual’s coverage had not been terminated.”

Health care coverage bill slated for hearing