While the federal government remained shut down Wednesdayafter Congress failed to agree on the terms of a continuing resolution, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Health Exchanges are just opening for business and leaving their marks within the Orange Bubble. The University sent out an email to all its student employees providing information about the New Jersey Health Insurance Marketplace on Sept. 27.
The University was required by the Affordable Care Act to send out this notice to all employees,University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua explained.
The email informs recipients that no action needs to be taken on the part of students who are either enrolled in the Student Health Plan or have opted out of the plan with qualifying alternate insurance.
“The notification is simply a legal requirement,” Mbugua explained, “To our knowledge the law does not require any changes in the Student Health Plan.”
On Oct. 1, New Jersey residents became eligible to create an account in New Jersey’s Health Exchange, where they can choose from three individual insurance providers: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, AmeriHealth New Jersey and Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey. The state’s exchange is operated by the federal government because Governor Chris Christie vetoed two bills that authorized a state-run exchange.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 901,000 uninsured New Jersey residents are now eligible to use the health insurance marketplace. An estimated 790,000 people in New Jersey qualify for either Affordable Care Act subsidies to purchase insurance or coverage under the state’s expansion of Medicaid, which the governor signed into law in February.
Will Mantell '14, president of Princeton’s College Democrats, said he believes students could benefit from the availability of the New Jersey Exchange if they would prefer to buy an alternate health care plan.
“There is some choice now for students not familiar with insurance in New Jersey,” he explained. “Instead of just signing up with the University, you can go online and compare plans easily.”
The debate over the Affordable Care Act remains at the heart of the government shutdown, with Republicans insisting upon including measures to weaken the law in spending bills that would fund the government and Democrats refusing to pass any proposal that mentions the Act, Politico reported.
Republicans offered five separate funding bills on Tuesday that would have reinstated spending for the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, national parks, the City of Washington, D.C., and pay for military reservists, according to The Hill. Each of the proposed bills was defeated in the House, with Democrats insisting on a single, “clean” funding bill for the government.
“To tie whether the government is going to function to whether or not you like a certain law is completely ridiculous,” Mantell said, referring to Republican attempts to restrict the Affordable Care Act in a potential budget bill.
Leaders of College Republicans did not respond to repeated requests for comment.