Ruiz, Pou Bills to Modernize WIC, Streamline Enrollment into Subsidized Health Insurance Advance

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Laws Goals to Expand Access to Formula, Mitigate Impact of Future Shortages

Trenton – In an effort to higher support Latest Jersey residents, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee advanced laws sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Nellie Pou, which might aim to modernize the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and help uninsured residents receive information on eligibility without spending a dime or low-cost medical health insurance. 

“Latest Jersey has a robust safety net for residents in need but, unfortunately, many public programs are underutilized,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “By updating the WIC program, we are able to allow for online grocery shopping and splitting checks up over multiple purchases. These changes, if federally approved, will make WIC easier to make use of and permit moms to take full advantage of the support. Similarly, the Easy Enroll Program will jump-start the medical health insurance application process, allowing residents to easily check a box and get information on their eligibility for Medicaid or other low-cost options.”

The primary bill, S-539, would direct the Department of Health to request federal approval to permit WIC participants to buy food through online vendors, use WIC funds to cover home delivery costs and permit flexibility when purchasing baby formula.

“It’s critical our public assistance programs proceed to evolve to satisfy the needs of our residents and take full advantage of recent technologies. Our safety net only works if people understand it is there and are in a position to use it,” Senator Ruiz added.

The bill would also request approval to permit WIC recipients to utilize their advantages over multiple transactions. Currently, recipients must expend your entire value of their WIC check or voucher in a single transaction.

“Especially given the staggering unemployment rates plaguing our state, it is probably going the variety of uninsured Latest Jerseyans has grown over the past yr,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “Through this laws, the Department of Banking and Insurance will give you the chance to discover individuals and families who could also be eligible for subsidized medical health insurance and guide them through the appliance process. This may go a great distance in connecting as many eligible individuals as possible to much-needed coverage. Moreover, changes to WIC will ease the burden on recent moms struggling to navigate this system during an especially trying time, given the newborn formula shortage.”

The second bill, S-1646, would require the Department of Banking and Insurance to determine the Latest Jersey Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, which might use tax return and unemployment insurance data to discover individuals who enroll for information on medical health insurance and are occupied with obtaining minimum essential coverage. The bill would allow the state to run eligibility determinations without spending a dime or low-cost medical health insurance and enroll interested individuals for FamilyCare plans.

Under the bill, a tax filer or unemployment applicant would give you the chance to opt-in to this system by checking a box, indicating they would really like DOBI to examine in the event that they are eligible. This system is voluntary and data will only be used if individuals check the box. Those that opt-in, and are eligible could be robotically enrolled in Medicaid. Others could be referred to the Exchange to find out in the event that they qualify for subsidies. 

Each bills were released from committee by votes of 12-0.

 

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