The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010 was a major change for health insurance in the United States.
Among other features, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) meant that people enrolled in an ACA Marketplace plan cannot be denied health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, and children can remain on their parents’ health plan until age 26. In addition, many states expanded Medicaid in order to cover more people in certain income groups.
You can find detailed and up-to-date information about the Affordable Care Act on the New Jersey State Library Affordable Care Act Research Guide.
The open enrollment period for the ACA Federally-facilitated Marketplace (also known as the Federally-facilitated Exchange) has changed since the law was implemented.
Here are the 2020 important dates & deadlines:
- 2020 Open Enrollment starts Friday, November 1, 2019.
- The last day to sign up for 2020 coverage is Sunday, December 15, 2019.
- Coverage for people who sign up during Open Enrollment starts January 1, 2020.
Some states have built their own State-based Marketplace and may have different Open Enrollment periods.
For insurance starting in January 2020, New Jersey remains on the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, and so residents will enroll through HealthCare.gov between November 1, 2019 and December 15, 2019.
New Jersey plans to transition to a State-based Marketplace/Exchange for 2021.
New Jersey requires residents to maintain health insurance. The New Jersey Health Insurance Market Preservation Act is a law that requires all NJ residents to have minimum essential health coverage throughout 2019 and beyond, unless you qualify for an exemption.
The HealthCare.gov web site provides help and information about many topics including enrollment during and outside of the Open Enrollment period, what plans cover, canceling plans, dental coverage, dates and deadlines, how to pick a plan, how to estimate income, and much more.
Information on some frequently requested topics can be found here:
- Checklist of items you will need to begin enrolling
- Tips about the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Renew, Change or Update your Health Plan for 2020
- Health Coverage Application Tips and Troubleshooting
In addition to online help, there is a toll free number available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except holidays): 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).
You can also search by zip code or city to find local, trained, in-person assisters to help you enroll.
Specific for New Jersey
NJ FamilyCare is New Jersey’s health insurance program that provides free or low-cost health coverage for qualified residents of any age. It’s also known as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Enrollment in NJ FamilyCare can take place any time.