A statewide mandate requiring all New Jersey residents to have health insurance is now in effect. Signed by Governor Phil Murphy in May 2018 as a means to preserve part of the Affordable Care Act repealed in the previous year, the new law is intended to control health care costs.
As a law firm that has represented injured victims in a range of accident and injury cases across the state since 1939, our legal team at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. wanted to provide some important information about the new law:
- As of January 1, 2019 the individual mandate (S1877) requires all New Jerseyans to carry health insurance.
- Under the law, New Jersey residents must either: (1) purchase health insurance through a government program (i.e. Medicare or Medicaid); (2) obtain health coverage through an employer; or (3) pay a fee when filing taxes.
While health insurance has become a politically charged topic, state lawmakers are reaffirming the practical importance of having coverage. As they state, the new law will protect New Jersey from the negative impact of higher premiums, which experts predict as the likely result of lower coverage rates and a health insurance marketplace being dominated by older and less healthy individuals.
Because many younger and healthier people forgo insurance, the mandate is seen as a critical measure for ensuring that demographic buys in and shares costs. A second law signed by Governor Murphy, (S1878), creates the state’s Health Insurance Premium Security Fund, into which fees collected from those who opt out of compliance with the individual mandate are deposited. That fund will provide additional protection against rising health care costs by helping pay claims of people with severe illnesses.
Protection When it Matters Most
Politics aside, bolstering broader health coverage is a financially responsible move, and it can make all the difference when it matters most. Our attorneys know that well, having represented many clients with injuries and illnesses that produce incredibly costly medical bills. Although victims of preventable accidents have the right to seek compensation for those expenses and other damages by pursuing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, not all injuries or illnesses arise from the negligence of others – people still need to pay for treating unexpected health issues, or obtaining preventative care. The cost of that care is also not immune from major legislative shakeups. As Partner Michael B. Fusco notes:
“We are pleased New Jersey has aligned itself with the Federal regulations, ensuring that New Jerseyans have access to affordable health care options during such uncertain times in Washington.”
We encourage every New Jerseyan to learn more about the nature of their own insurance coverage and ways they can protect themselves. This includes not only health insurance, but also other forms of coverage that offer protection in the event of the unexpected, such as auto insurance, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, uninsured or underinsured (UM / UIM) coverage, and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. While some forms of insurance certainly cover medical bills, others may also cover other losses, including property damage, lost income, the costs of assistive medical devices and medications, and more. It’s a wise decision to review your coverage, and consider ways to better protect yourself given your particular situation or needs.
For anyone with questions about insurance following accidents and injuries caused by the negligence of others, or which occur in the workplace, our personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help. Levinson Axelrod, P.A. proudly serves clients throughout New Jersey, and offers free initial consultations. Call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer.