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While experts work around the clock to fix the problems with the federal health insurance marketplace website, NJPIRG Law & Policy Center is reaching out to students in New Jersey with tips on checking out their coverage options in other ways.
“There’s clearly huge demand for affordable insurance,” said Jen Coleman, Advocate. “The problems with the website are frustrating for everyone. But right now, students need to know they can bypass those glitches and sign up in other ways."
In addition to visiting the Healthcare.gov website, consumers have three additional methods to enroll:
1. By phone. Call 1-800-318-2596 to apply for a health insurance plan and enroll over the phone. (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
2. In person. Visit a trained counselor in your community to compare your options and apply in person. Find help in your area at LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov.
Students can find more practical information in NJPIRG Law & Policy Center’s new guide, So You Need Health Insurance. Now What? New Jersey Health Insurance 101.
NJPIRG Law & Policy Center’s outreach is part of their statewide education campaign this year reaching out to students with facts about the changing health insurance landscape, and tips to help them find the right coverage for themselves.
“Many college students are uninsured, and for many more losing coverage is just around the corner when they graduate or turn 26,” said Coleman. “It’s critical for students and other young people to get the information they need to make smart decisions.”
Through the project, NJPIRG Law & Policy Center’s staff and volunteers are distributing information such as the new guide, doing presentations for campus groups, and partnering with faculty members and health centers to share practical information with students.
For insurance plans beginning January 1, 2014, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and most people will be required to have insurance coverage or pay a fee. Through the new health insurance marketplace, consumers can compare plans and find out about financial help to lower the cost of insurance.
“It’s important to remember that there is still plenty of time to enroll,” said Coleman. “Applications need to be in by December 15 for coverage to begin in January, and the six-month open enrollment period goes through March 2014.”
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