New Jersey giving $4 million in grants to help residents learn about ‘free’ health care opportunities

(The Center Square) – New Jersey officials are handing nearly $4 million in tax money to help “community organizations” promote health insurance offerings during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period.

Taxpayers are on the hook for an additional half a million dollars this year as state officials expanded the number of awardees from 16 last year to 18 this year. The state is doling out the tax dollars in the form of grants to help organizations hire navigators tasked with educating residents looking for taxpayer-funded health care.

“Navigators are an important part of reaching the state’s uninsured residents and ensuring they have access to quality, affordable health coverage and available financial help in their own community,” state Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride said in an announcement. “With expanded state and federal financial help available in 2022, we want to ensure as many residents as possible take advantage of low-cost health coverage that is available.”

State officials said they took over the navigator program from the feds in 2019, blaming former President Donald Trump for reducing funding for the initiative.

Open Enrollment for the state’s official health insurance marketplace kicks off Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31. Last year, the state allocated about $3.5 million for the grants.

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