Interactive Map: County by County, the Impact of Healthcare Law

By 2016, nearly 1 million of NJ’s uninsured will be eligible for coverage

Click on the map to see data on the number of uninsured, the number that would be covered under the federal law and those with low incomes currently covered by a state insurance program.

Source: New Jersey Policy Perspective, N.J. Division of Human Services

More than 1 in 10 New Jerseyans has no health insurance, and most of them would get coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday.

Estimates place the size of New Jersey’s population of uninsured between 1.2 million and 1.3 million residents. The high cost of health insurance is the biggest barrier to coverage for those who are not covered by an employer or who lost their insurance because of unemployment.

A bare bones health insurance policy, with caps on hospitalization, doctor visits and testing and required copays, would cost a single, middle-aged adult between $2,580 and $23,076 a year, according to data on file with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

Almost 940,000 low-income residents, three quarters of them children, currently have health coverage through NJ Family Care, which requires no premiums or copays for those at the lowest income levels, and has low rates and copays for those between 200 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, currently $23,050 for a family of four.

State DHS data shows another 360,000 covered by Medicaid — the elderly, disabled and those on welfare. And Medicare covered about 1.3 million New Jerseyans, 90 percent of them age 65 or older, last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The rest, more than half the population, are covered by an individual policy or, for the vast majority, a policy through their work.

There are varying estimates of the impact of the new law.

According to the New Jersey Hospital Association, nearly 1 million of the state’s residents currently without insurance will be eligible for coverage under the law.
But eligibility will not necessarily translate into coverage.

New Jersey Policy Perspective estimates that roughly 587,000 New Jerseyans without insurance today are likely to be covered because of the federal law.

“Some people will not choose to obtain insurance and pay the penalty instead and some people eligible for Medicaid are not subject to the penalty and will not apply because they do not know about it or feel they are healthy and do not need it,” said Raymond Castro, NJPP senior policy analyst.

“Two-thirds of the uninsured are not subject to the penalty,” he said. “If the state does a good job of outreach the participation rate will be higher.”

The largest group of those ineligible for coverage under the law is undocumented immigrants. Castro put that pool at 300,000, while the NJHA estimates it at 500,000, and said treating the undocumented costs New Jersey hospitals $600 million a year.

But being uncovered will not mean a person will have to go without treatment. Castro said people would still be able to go to community health centers for care, and state law requires hospitals to treat all those who seek care, regardless of their ability to pay and their citizenship status.

The map includes NJPP’s estimates of those currently without insurance, as well as those who would likely be covered in 2016. It also lists the number of those currently enrolled in NJ Family Care by county.

For a link to rates for insurance plans in NJ, click here.