New Jersey offers free or subsidized health insurance under the Medicaid program, a federally funded welfare plan administered by states. The Department of Health and Human Services administers the plan in New Jersey. Certain low-income people, parents, pregnant or nursing mothers, and the aged, blind or disabled can qualify for free or deeply subsidized medical insurance through Medicaid.
The FamilyCare program provides free or subsidized health insurance for low-income families. Eligibility is based on household income and family size. However, the program will provide zero-cost health insurance for parents if household income is 133 percent of the federal poverty level or less. For a family of three, that means that the state will provide coverage to the whole family, adults included, if household income is $2,054 per month or less. However, income from food stamps, unemployment or child support is counted differently and may render you ineligible, even if you make less than this amount.
Pregnant women who are legal residents of New Jersey may be eligible for free medical insurance if their family income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, this equates to $44,100 per year. For the mother, this coverage extends from pregnancy to 60 days after the birth of the child. The child is eligible for Medicaid assistance for one year, no matter if the family income changes. The New Jersey Medically Needy program provides a mechanism for women who make too much money to qualify for benefits under normal rules to "spend down" assets until they qualify. That is, medical expenses may offset income so that they can qualify for benefits.
Aged, Blind and Disabled
If you are age 65 or older, blind or otherwise disabled, and you are a legal resident of New Jersey, you may be able to qualify for New Jersey Care. This is a special program designed to serve those who meet the strict income and asset limits. However, most New Jersey residents over age 65 will also be eligible for the Medicare.
The most common way for working Americans on limited incomes to obtain health insurance is through an employer's group health plan. If your employer sponsors a group plan, it will typically pay at least half of the premiums. Furthermore, these plans are generally issued with no medical underwriting. You can qualify for these plans regardless of your health, provided you enroll as soon as eligible. If you are unable to secure employment with an employer who sponsors a health plan, you may still qualify for reduced cost insurance through Medicaid, even if your income is greater than the level required for free coverage.
Leslie McClintock has been writing professionally since 2001. She has been published in "Wealth and Retirement Planner," "Senior Market Advisor," "The Annuity Selling Guide," and many other outlets. A licensed life and health insurance agent, McClintock holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California.