Nov. 01, 2018: Governor Launches State Open Enrollment Website at Kickoff Event

Community groups, providers and advocates gathered at the Trenton War Memorial to coordinate messaging and strategy for the Marketplace Insurance Open Enrollment period.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the launch of, the website developed by the state to help citizens explore health insurance options, find local enrollment help and learn about financial assistance. The website also includes an outreach toolkit.

New Jersey is going to show that “when you uphold the Affordable Care Act, you get more affordable care,” Murphy told the crowd. 

Murphy was joined on stage by Sen. Robert Menendez, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, First Lady Tammy Murphy and members of his cabinet including Department of Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal, MD, Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson, Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, Department of Children and Family Services Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer and State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio.

Watson Coleman, who herself has recently finished treatment for cancer, thanked the audience for “the opportunity to speak on behalf of those whose voices and needs would not be met if we did not come together.

Today’s activities also included an open discussion among stakeholders including NJHA on strategy and communications. NJHA shared efforts it has taken to aid members, including social media messaging, and provision and verification of on-site assistance resources.

There is still an “opportunity to enroll those still sitting on the sidelines,” said Maura Collinsgru, health care program director for New Jersey Citizen Action, which organized the event.

The program also included a presentation on national research on successful enrollment messaging by Alison Betty, co-founder of Betty & Smith, a healthcare communications and strategy firm. She highlighted several messages that have shown results in motivating people to look into enrollment:

  • Coverage provides peace of mind and protects you from the unexpected.
  • Low-cost plans are available, prices have gone down in New Jersey and you may be eligible for tax credits (financial help) that lower the overall cost of coverage.
  • Plans and prices change every year so it’s important to check out your options.
  • Marketplace plans are comprehensive and provide coverage for services such as preventative care, mental health care, prescriptions and hospitalizations.
  • Free help is available to find a plan, meet with a trained assister to talk about options and get help enrolling.

Betty said that while New Jersey’s new individual mandate penalty won’t necessarily motivate people to seek coverage, as the federal penalty was infrequently cited as a motivating factor, it will be part of cost calculations done by consumers concerned with affordability. She added that transparency about the penalty builds trust with consumers and also will ensure that those motivated by compliance with the law continue to be covered.

Additional speakers included leaders from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regional office, the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, the Center for Family Services and the New Jersey Primary Care Association.