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Trenton – Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez today announced the federal approval of a Medicaid Waiver that will allow New Jersey to collect reimbursement for half the cost of providing health insurance to about 57,000 single, childless adults currently participating in the Work First NJ program. The budgetary savings are estimated at $88 million for Fiscal Year 2012. Approval for the waiver was granted through the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday, April 13. New Jersey has been working with CMS for about a year on this initiative. After having first submitted a State Plan Amendment, the final waiver application was submitted to CMS on February 24, 2011. 

“The Christie Administration is pleased that after months working with HHS we are able to provide health coverage to nearly 70,000 uninsured, low-income people through the Work First New Jersey program,” said Commissioner Velez. “This is the first of many steps for New Jersey in redesigning the Medicaid program to best assist those most in need of services. We will continue working diligently with HHS over the coming months on several additional areas of flexibility that will improve benefits and streamline delivery of health care in New Jersey.”

The health care benefits for this population previously were provided through a Medicaid-type program but issued through WorkFirst NJ, with state-only funds. The waiver creates a new federally-approved Medicaid category in NJ that allows the state to seek 50% federal reimbursement. The waiver also allows for growth in the program to 70,000 through December 2013.

Beginning January 1, 2014, provisions from the Affordable Care Act will require all states to cover uninsured adults up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level. DHS will work with county social service departments to operationalize the change in Medicaid billing, with reimbursements accessible for costs incurred on or after April 15.

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