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NJ Governor Signs Bills to Protect Popular Obamacare Provisions

Jan. 16, 2020, 7:44 PM

New Jersey moved to shore up Obamacare under a package of bills signed Thursday by Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

The bills include requirements that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions without charging higher rates and that families be allowed to keep their adult children on their health plans until they are 26.

New Jersey’s actions echo a trend among Democratic states to make sure popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act stay in effect as the court system considers a constitutional challenge to the law.

“At a time when the Affordable Care Act is under siege by the Trump Administration and being challenged in the courts, New Jersey has a responsibility to protect and provide access to high-quality, affordable health care for all of our residents,” Murphy said in a statement.

The bills protect ACA provisions under which preventive care and contraception must be provided without requiring consumers to make out-of-pocket payments. They also require that comprehensive benefits such as mental health and maternity be covered.

One of the bills would limit offerings of health plans that don’t comply with the ACA. The Trump administration has allowed insurers to sell such plans for longer contract periods than was allowed during the Obama administration.

In addition, state health insurance rate reviews will be expanded in individual market and small employer plans, and large group health plans must spend at least 85% of premiums on health care or refund the difference to consumers.

New Jersey also is opening its own ACA exchange beginning in 2021, and the bills signed by Murphy include expanding the open enrollment period.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Hansard in Washington at shansard@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Brent Bierman at bbierman@bloomberglaw.com