Monday, March 17, 2008

NJ introduces harmful health insurance proposal

New Jersey’s legislature is considering pulling the trigger again. Individual residents will be the repeat victims. More than a decade ago the lawmakers took an ill-advised law that dictated the coverage to be included in all New Jersey health insurance policies. In effect, this consumers options to about six choices, generically labeled, “Plan A”, “Plan B”, “Plan C”, “Plan, D”, “Plan E” and “HMO”. More recently Health Savings Account options were made available. The intent was to simplify the selection process for New Jersey residents who were not smart enough to make intelligent decisions when buying their own health insurance. The legislative initiative was a disaster.

In the years since this restrictive legislation was passed, New Jersey soared to the highest health insurance prices in the nation. Most insurance companies withdrew from the market and those few that remained do not even advertise their products or employ agents to sell them. The number of uninsured in New Jersey is among the highest in the nation, despite the state’s relatively affluent population. The uninsured are typically middle income who could easily afford health insurance in most other states.

Many New Jersey residents hoped that lawmakers had learned a lesson and would refrain from further radical attempts to regulate the market. But apparently the legislature is poised to pass additional restrictive legislation that would require every New Jersey resident to buy health insurance. Despite strong adverse public opinion and the lack of success in other states hat have tried similar measures, the law is promoted by powerful health care industry and big business lobbyists. The health care industry would benefit from expanded insurance as an additional source of funding. Employers would benefit because the pressure to provide group coverage would be reduced.

The bill will be revealed today – Saint Patrick’s Day, according to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer. It appears that the luck of the Irish may fade for New Jersey residents.

States with free market health insurance approach have more affordable health insurance choices in 2008 than ever before according to, a company that specializes in low cost health insurance. None of these affordable health insurance plans are available to New Jersey residents. Many New Jersey residents feel that they should have the right to buy the affordable health insurance plans that are available to their neighbors in Pennsylvania and Delaware. New Jersey residents are encouraged to tell their legislators that the real answer is to avoid this drastic new legislation, remove the excess market restrictions and return to a free market system used in most other states.

It simply makes no sense to require New Jersey residents to buy health insurance while at the same time denying them the option of purchasing the most popular insurance plans at rates that are comparable to those available in the rest of the nation.

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