EANJ Health Plan Emerging as Strong Alternative

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With insurance companies in New Jersey fleeing the health exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, a state lawmaker has introduced a bill to create a government-operated plan that he said will stabilize the volatile market.

The "New Jersey Public Option Health Care Act" would require the state Health and Banking and Insurance departments to develop the plans, according to the legislation Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) introduced last month.

Consumers will have only two health care providers to choose from on the health exchange when the open enrollment period begins Nov. 1. Oscar Insurance, Health Republic of New Jersey, and Oxford Health Plans, owned by UnitedHealthcare Co. are pulling out, citing severe losses.

The insurance carriers that remain are the two most dominant, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and AmeriHealth, which together insure more than 80 percent of individual enrollees.

Another option for employers has been a health care trust sponsored by the Employers Association of New Jersey.

The trust - Affiliated Physicians & Employers Health Plan, administered by Qualcare Alliance Network, Inc - allows EANJ members to self-fund health care coverage for their employees and their families.

John Sarno, president of EANJ says that the plan will grow its enrollment about 20% this year, primarily because the plan's rates are competitive for small and mid-sized employers - from 2 to 500 employees.

"With healthcare costs charged by exchange plans projected to increase on average by about 22 percent in 2017, the EANJ alternative is ever more attractive for employers," he says.

Learn more about the EANJ healthcare trust