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New Jersey Pilot Program Insures Newborns Without Coverage

Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media, November 5, 2009

If a pilot program underway in New Jersey is a success, no newborns at participating hospitals will leave the facility without health insurance coverage.

Under the "Insured for Sure" Hospital Newborn Pilot Program, staff from the participating hospitals will verify if newborns have insurance coverage. The hospital will then submit data to the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services to confirm that the child is covered by their parents insurance. If the child is not, a NJ FamilyCare application is immediately submitted online to the state Department of Human Services.

"There's been a big push in the state of New Jersey to get every child some form of health insurance, and we now cover all children with either low-cost or no-cost care," says Eliot Fishman, director of policy for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. "There should be no reason for any child to go without health insurance."

NJ FamilyCare is administered by DHS as a free or low-cost program for income-eligible families. It covers children in families earning up to 350% of the Federal Poverty Level and parents earning up to 200% of the FPL.

The Insured for Sure program is designed to make it easy for parents to enroll their children, officials say. Parents receive assistance filling out the one-page application and the state will use the database system to monitor the process to ensure enrollment is complete.

If the six-month pilot program is successful, it may be implemented at hospitals across New Jersey, Fishman says.

"The point of the pilot is just to make sure the systems are working the way we anticipate they will work, but we absolutely see that as the first step in a statewide rollout," Fishman says. "We are very optimistic."

Organizations participating in the program include Saint Peters University Hospital in New Brunswick, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, Capital Health System in Trenton, Cooper Health System in Camden, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, and the Voorhees campus of the Virta-West Jersey Hospital.

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