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An NJ Spotlight Conference: Implementing the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey

Although the Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010, the first of the two most important dates in its development thus far has just been reached. On October 1, 2013, New Jersey residents became eligible to enroll for health coverage that will begin on January 1, 2014, through either the online health insurance marketplace or the newly expanded Medicaid program.

The NJ Spotlight Conference: Implementing the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey explored many of the critical challenges that federal, state, and local officials will face as they move ahead with Obamacare.

This two-session conference featured the detailed analyses and informed discussion that NJ Spotlight is known for.

Former Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard, who directs the State Health Reform Assistance Network, was the guest speaker.

Session 1: Implementing the Health Insurance Marketplace/Exchange
The primary way that New Jerseyans will purchase coverage is through a federal health insurance marketplace or exchange, a website required by the ACA. What's not clear, however, is how residents will learn about the marketplace -- and about such crucial details as how to enroll for coverage, how to choose a benefits package, and what penalties apply if they decide not to buy coverage. This panel will address those issues, including how outreach will be funded and how the multiple layers of federal and state regulations will interact.
Moderator: 
Andrew Kitchenman, healthcare writer, NJ Spotlight
Panelists: State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex and Passaic), primary sponsor of resolution establishing legislative task force implementing NJ's health insurance exchange; Dr. JaimeTorres, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Katherine Grant-Davis, President, New Jersey Primary Care Association; Neil Eicher, Deputy Director of Government Relations and Policy, New Jersey Hospital Association; Larry Altman, Vice President of the Office of Health Care Reform, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; Christine Stearns, Vice President Health and Legal Affairs, New Jersey Business & Industry Association
Session 2: Implementing Medicaid Eligibility Expansion
The other way that some state residents will qualify for insurance is through the expanded Medicaid program created when Gov. Chris Christie extended eligibility to more individuals and families. This panel will discuss how expansion will play out at the ground level, including who will be signing up residents and giving them the requisite guidance. Also on the agenda: the impact of additional patients on healthcare providers, as well as whether the “seamless” application for Medicaid and the marketplace is on track.
Moderator: 
Andrew Kitchenman, healthcare writer, NJ Spotlight
Panelists: Dr. Ruth Perry, Trenton Health Team; Linda Schwimmer, Vice President, New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute; Kathleen Lockbaum, director Salem County Board of Social Services; president, County Welfare Directors Association of New Jersey; John Koehn, Chief Operating Officer, AmeriGroup; Karen Clark, President & Chief Operating Officer, Horizon NJ Health; Jennifer Kuhn, Chief Executive Officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
Keynote address: former Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard

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