Health Exchanges Extend Open Enrollment Until May 15

Both the Federal health exchange and New Jersey’s newly opened health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey, have extended their enrollment period until May 15, 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online enrollment is available at HealthCare.gov and for New Jersey residents at Get Covered New Jersey. New Jersey residents seeking enrollment assistance can call 888-654-3893. To get help choosing a plan go to the state’s Find Local Assistance page.

The following is a press release issued by the Office of the Governor January 28, 2021:

TRENTON – Following the Biden Administration’s health care action today, Governor Phil Murphy announced the State is extending the health insurance enrollment period for uninsured residents to sign up for coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Ensuring that our residents have access to quality, affordable health insurance has been a top priority of our administration since day one,” said Governor Murphy. “As we continue our work to save lives and protect New Jerseyans in response to the pandemic, this action will expand opportunities for residents to get the coverage they need to maintain their health and wellbeing. I want to thank President Biden for taking this necessary step at the federal level to further complement the relief efforts of his American Rescue Plan.”

“We want to ensure that New Jerseyans have the coverage they need to see a doctor when they are sick, but also to get the preventive care that is so vital to their long-term health,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. “Keeping open the enrollment window for those who are uninsured will give residents the chance to choose a plan now, instead of having to wait until next year to get covered. Especially during a public health emergency, this extension is crucial to protecting our residents’ health.”

Last year, Governor Murphy requested that the Trump Administration reopen the Affordable Care Act enrollment period in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the administration refused. Today, the Biden Administration announced that it would reopen health insurance enrollment in states that are utilizing the federal marketplace through a Special Enrollment Period.

The state of New Jersey transitioned from using the federally-facilitated marketplace, healthcare.gov, to its own marketplace last year, GetCovered.NJ.gov. The first Open Enrollment Period started November 1, 2020 and ends on January 31, 2021. Operating its own marketplace gives New Jersey more control over the health insurance market and the ability to better respond to the needs of the state, including setting its own Open Enrollment Period and establishing Special Enrollment Periods in response to the state’s needs.

New Jersey will extend the window for eligible uninsured residents to enroll in a health insurance plan through the marketplace or directly from carriers through a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period through May 15, 2021.

The coverage effective dates will be as follows:

Enroll by February 28, coverage effective March 1;

Enroll by March 31, coverage effective April 1;

Enroll by April 30, coverage effective May 1;

Enroll by May 15, coverage effective June 1.

Residents shopping for health insurance through GetCovered.NJ.gov have access to a new state subsidy — called New Jersey Health Plan Savings – on top of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available to lower the cost of their health insurance. Eight in 10 consumers purchasing coverage on Get Covered New Jersey qualify for assistance. An individual with an annual income up to of $51,040 and a family of four with an annual income of $104,800 (up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level) will qualify for savings. Because of the availability of state subsidies, the net premium for 2021 is the lowest since the implementation of Healthcare.gov and availability of federal tax credits for individuals receiving financial help. The currently average monthly net premium for those eligible for financial help is $121 a month, compared to $164 a month in 2020, and $148 a month in 2014.

All plans available through Get Covered New Jersey meet the stringent standards of the Affordable Care Act and offer free preventive care, free telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency and for 90 days thereafter, and coverage for emergency services, mental health and substance use services, and more. All plans available through Get Covered New Jersey are also required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and COVID-19 vaccinations without out-of-pocket costs.

After January 31st, New Jerseyans can make updates to health plans or enroll in a new health plan for other reasons, including birth or adoption of a child and pregnancy. More information on Special Enrollment Periods will be available on GetCovered.NJ.gov, where residents can also shop and compare plans and see if they qualify for financial help.

The deadline for New Jersey’s COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period aligns with the enrollment window opened by the federal government under the Biden Administration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All New Jerseyans seeking health insurance are encouraged to sign up by January 31 in order to have coverage in effect on February 1, providing the maximum benefit of health coverage for 2021. To get free help choosing a plan from a trained, certified assister, go to Find Local Assistance on the Get Covered New Jersey website.

EITC Awareness Day

January 29, 2021 marks the 15th time the Internal Revenue Service has publicized EITC Awareness Day. It is a day when various organizations try to spread the word about a tax program of importance to working people.

Here are a few numbers worth thinking about.

78 percent of households claim the Earned Income Tax Credit when they file their federal taxes. EITC is a credit that increases your tax refund or reduces what you owe Uncle Sam. 78% also means that 22% don’t claim the EITC.

2300 dollars is a typical Federal EITC refund for families in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

58,000 young workers in New Jersey will be able to take advantage of the New Jersey EITC for the first time when filing their 2020 tax return. New Jersey expanded their program by lowering the age requirement from 25 years to 21.

65,000,000,000 dollars – $65 billion – is about the amount received by 25 million eligible workers and families in EITC, according to IRS statistics.

Millions did not receive a stimulus check in 2020. The 2020 tax form has been redesigned for those who missed out. People who did not get an Economic Impact Payment may be eligible for a Recovery Rebate Credit. For details, please read the article, “What do I do if I didn’t get my first or second stimulus checks?” by Christine Tran of the 2020 Get It Back Campaign. See the IRS page for more questions and answers about the Recovery Rebate Credit, especially for those who did not file a tax return last year.

Often overlooked are a number of programs available to help taxpayers file tax returns free. These programs include: MyFreeTaxes, a joint partnership of United Way and H&R Block; Free File through the IRS. (A word of caution, to use Free File at $0 cost go through the IRS portal, not at a tax preparation company’s website.) Be sure to check your household income and the free programs income requirements.

Free tax counseling and tax filing is available through the VITA or TCE programs, short for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly. This year, some VITA/TCE sites are not operating at full capacity and others are not opening. To locate an open site near you, use the VITA/TCE Locator Tool or the AARP Site Locator Tool.

Additional information is available on this website’s Earned Income Tax Credit page.

147 House and Senate Enablers Voted to Overturn Electors

Congress affirmed early Thursday, the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, following the siege of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of domestic terrorists.

The following list are Representatives and Senators who objected to the vote by Presidential Electors in Arizona and/or Pennsylvania. Objections were submitted by Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Representative Scott Perry (R-PA), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO).

Last, First NamePartyStateDistrict 
House of Representatives
Aderholt, RobetRAL4
Allen, RickRGA12
Arrington, JodeyRTX19
Babin, BrianRTX36
Baird, JamesRIN4
Banks, JimRIN3
Bentz, CliffROR2
Bergman, JackRMI1
Bice, StephanieROK5
Biggs, AndyRAZ5
Bishop, DanRNC9
Boebert, LaurenRCO3
Bost, MikeRIL12
Brooks, MoRAL5
Budd, TedRNC13
Burchett, TimRTX26
Burgess, MichaelRTX26
Calvert, KenRCA42
Cammack, KatRFL3
Carl, JerryRAL1
Carter, Earl RGA1
Carter, JohnRTX31
Cawthorn, MadisonRNC11
Chabot, SteveROH1
Cline, BenRVA6
Cloud, MichaelRTX27
Clyde, AndrewRGA9
Cole, TomROK4
Crawford, EricRAR1
Davidson, WarrenROH8
DesJarlais, ScottRTN4
Diaz-Balart, MarioRFL25
Donalds, ByronRFL19
Duncan, JeffRSC3
Dunn, NealRFL2
Estes, RonRKS4
Fallon, PatRTX4
Fischbach, MichelleRMN7
Fitzgerald, ScottRWI5
Fleischmann, CharlesRTN3
Foxx, VirginiaRNC5
Franklin, C. ScottRFL15
Fulcher, RussRID1
Gaetz, MattRFL1
Garcia, MikeRCA25
Gibbs, BobROH7
Gimenez, CarlosRFL26
Gohmert, LouieRTX1
Good, BobRVA5
Gooden, LanceRTX5
Gosar, PaulRAZ4
Graves, GarretRLA6
Graves, SamRMO6
Green, MarkRTN7
Greene, MarjorieRGA14
Griffith, MorganRVA9
Guest, MichaelRMS3
Hagedorn, JimRMN1
Harris, AndyRMD1
Harshbarger, DianaRTN1
Hartzler, VickyRMO4
Hern, KevinROK1
Herrell, YvetteRNM2
Hice, JodyRGA10
Higgins, ClayRLA3
Hudson, RichardRNC8
Issa, DarrellRCA50
Jackson, RonnyRTX13
Jacobs, ChrisRNY27
Johnson, BillROH6
Johnson, MikeRLA4
Jordan, JimROH4
Joyce, JohnRPA13
Keller, FredRPA12
Kelly, MikeRPA16
Kelly, TrentRMS1
Kustoff, DavidRTN8
LaMalfa, DougRCA1
Lamborn, DougRCO5
Lesko, DebbieRAZ8
Long, BillyRMO7
Loudermilk, BarryRGA11
Lucas, FrankROK3
Luetkemeyer, BlaineRMO3
Malliotakis, NicoleRNY11
Mann, TraceyRKS1
Mast, BrianRFL18
McCarthy, KevinRCA23
McClain, LisaRMI10
Meuser, DanielRPA9
Miller, CarolRWV3
Miller, MaryRIL15
Mooney, AlexanderRWV2
Moore, BarryRAL2
Mullin, MarkwayneROK2
Murphy, GregoryRNC3
Nehls, TroyRTX22
Norman, RalphRSC5
Nunes, DevinRCA22
Obernolte, JayRCA8
Owens, BurgessR UT4
Palazzo, StevenRMS4
Palmer, GaryRAL6
Pence, GregRIN6
Perry, ScottR PA10
Pfluger, AugustRTX11
Posey, BillRFL8
Reschenthaler, GuyRPA14
Rice, TomRSC7
Rogers, HaroldRKY5
Rogers, MikeRAL3
Rose, JohnRTN6
Rosendale, MatthewRMTAt Large
Rouzer, DavidRNC7
Rutherford, JohnRFL4
Scalise, SteveRLA1
Schweikert, DavidRAZ6
Sessions, PeteRTX17
Smith, AdrianRNE3
Smith, JasonRMO8
Smucker, LloydRPA11
Stefanik, EliseRNY21
Steube, W. GregoryRFL17
Stewart, ChrisRUT2
Thompson, GlennRPA15
Tiffany, ThomasRWI7
Timmons, WilliamRSC4
Van Drew, JeffersonRNJ2
Van Duyne, BethRTX24
Walberg, TimRMI7
Walorski, JackieRIN2
Weber, RandyRTX14
Webster, DanielRFL11
Williams, RogerRTX25
Wilson, JoeRSC2
Wittman, RobertRVA1
Wright, Ron (died 02/07/2021)RTX6
Zeldin, LeeRNY1
Senate
Cruz, TedRTX
Hawley, JoshRMO
Hyde-Smith, CindyRMS
Kennedy, JohnRLA
Lummis, CynthiaRWY
Marshall, RogerRKS
Scott, RickRFL
Tuberville, TommyRAL
Source: Congress.gov, Clerk of the House, U.S. Senate

Anti Democracy PA Legislators Letter To Congressional Delegation

Republican State Senators and Representatives, using crafty language, sent a letter to members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation, urging Congress to disregard the wishes of its voters when the Electoral College results are formally declared on January 6, 2021.

Sixty-four State Senators and Representatives signed the letter, dated December 4. They claimed the conduct of Governor Wolf and others underminded Pennsylvania election law. The signers closed their letter with the statement, “For these reasons, we the undersigned members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly urge you to object, and vote to sustain such objection, to the Electoral College votes received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”.

Assuming their news release is not quietly deleted, I urge you to read their letter to Congress at he Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus website.

Remember the shameful action by these sixty-four Pennsylvania legislators:

Seth Grove, Representative, 196th District
Kristin Phillips-Hill, Senator, 28th District
Judy Ward, Senator, 30th District
Mike Regan, Senator, 31st District
Dave Arnold, Senator, 48th District
Doug Mastriano, Senator, 33rd District
Joe Pittman, Senator, 41st District
Pat Stefano, Senator, 32nd District
Kerry Benninghoff, Representative, 171st District
Bryan Cutler, Representative, 100th District
Jim Cox, Representative, 129th District
Kate Klunk, Representative, 169th District
Torren Ecker, Representative, 193rd District
Bud Cook, Representative, 49th District
Frank Ryan, Representative, 101st District
Tina Pickett, Representative, 110th District
David Rowe, Representative, 85th District
Clint Owlett, Representative, 68th District
Ryan Warner, Representative, 52nd District
Aaron Bernstine, Representative, 10th District
Eric Nelson, Representative, 57th District
Kathy Rapp, Representative, 65th District
Doyle Heffley, Representative, 122nd District
Lou Schmitt, Representative, 79th District
David Maloney, Representative, 130th District
Mark Gillen, Representative, 128th District
Craig Staats, Representative, 145th District
Mindy Fee, Representative, 37th District
Jesse Topper, Representative, 78th District
Eric Davanzo, Representative, 58th District
Paul Schemel, Representative, 90th District
Cris Dush, Senator Elect, 25th District
John Hershey, Representative, 82nd District
David Millard, Representative, 109th District
Brad Roae, Representative, 6th District
Ryan Mackenzie, Representative, 134th District
Marci Mustello, Representative, 11th District
Lee James, Representative, 64th District
Matt Dowling, Representative, 51st District
George Dunbar, Representative, 56th District
Jonathan Fritz, Representative, 111th District
Rich Irvin, Representative, 81st District
Martin Causer, Representative, 67th District
Jeff Wheeland, Representative, 83rd District
Tim Hennessey, Representative, 26th District
David Hickernell, Representative, 98th District
Greg Rothman, Representative, 87th District
Brett Miller, Representative, 41st District
Dan Moul, Representative, 91st District
Keith Greiner, Representative, 43rd District
Thomas Sankey, Representative, 73rd District
Dawn Keefer, Representative, 92nd District
Donna Oberlander, Representative, 63rd District
Curt Sonney, Representative, 4th District
Mike Reese, Representative, 59th District
Mike Jones, Representative, 93rd District
Martina White, Representative, 170th District
Barbara Gleim, Representative, 199th District
Carl Walker Metzgar, Representative, 69th District
Perry Stambaugh, Representative-Elect, 86th District
James Gregory, Representative, 80th District
Michael Peifer, Representative, 139th District
Steven Mentzer, Representative, 97th District
Rob Kauffman, Representative, 89th District