New Jersey Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) Facts 2021

What New Jersey Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2021

Essential facts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) in New Jersey, including whether you must get health insurance, how much it will cost, and how you can save money.


Updated: 2021-02-16 by

It's not too late! Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) enrollment will remain OPEN in New Jersey until May 15, 2021.

New Jersey has announced a special enrollment period for health plan signups under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This COVID-related enrollment period is open until May 15 and is available to all uninsured New Jersey residents.

This website provides information about getting health insurance under the ACA, including:

To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in New Jersey:

1. New Jersey law requires you to have health insurance.

The federal tax penalty for going without health insurance ended in 2019, but a handful of states, including New Jersey, have enacted laws to replace it. The requirement, called the "state shared responsibility tax," says that New Jersey residents must have health insurance that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act or face a state tax penalty. (For more information about how the penalty works, including penalty amounts, see the website of the New Jersey Treasury.)

To find out whether you qualify for an exemption to the health insurance requirement, see Do I Have to Get Health Insurance in New Jersey?

2. You can use the COVID special enrollment period to get covered under the Affordable Care Act, even though open enrollment is over.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, GetCoveredNJ will be open for new Obamacare signups until May 15, 2021. If you're currently uninsured, you can use this special enrollment period to get covered for 2021. To learn more about enrollment, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in New Jersey.

If you already have health insurance. If you're already insured, you can change plans only if you have a "qualifying life event." Otherwise, you must wait until open enrollment for 2022 plans begins in the fall of 2021. To learn whether you qualify for a special enrollment period that will allow you to switch plans, see What Happens If I Missed the New Jersey Obamacare Enrollment Deadline?

3. New Jersey's health insurance marketplace is now located at GetCoveredNJ.

In 2020, New Jersey debuted its own health insurance exchange, GetCoveredNJ, which is based on the HealthCare.gov platform. Running its own exchange gives the state more flexibility, including the ability to offer a longer open enrollment period, additional special enrollment periods, and state financial assistance programs.

4. New Jersey has created a new financial assistance program to supplement federal Obamacare subsidies.

Several forms of financial assistance can help you lower your health insurance premiums.

Federal tax credits. The federal government provides help with premium payments for those whose incomes fall between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. For example, for 2021 health plans, a family of four in New Jersey earning as much as $104,800 can qualify for subsidies, as can an individual who earns up to $51,040. Though the subsidies are tax credits, they are automatically deducted from the cost of your premiums each month, as long as you purchase your plan through GetCoveredNJ.

Cost-sharing reductions. More than half of the people who purchase coverage through a health insurance exchange receive "cost-sharing reductions" (CSRs). Keep in mind that cost-sharing subsidies are available only on silver plans. They will automatically reduce your premium if your income is no more than 250% of the federal poverty level. (For 2021 health plans, that means a family of four in New Jersey can't earn more than $65,500 and an individual not more than $25,520.) If you think you may qualify, look carefully at costs for the silver plans available at GetCoveredNJ while you are shopping for coverage.

New Jersey health plan savings. Beginning in 2021, New Jerseyans earning under 400% of the federal poverty level will get additional financial help. Individuals may be able to lower their insurance costs by up to $578 per year, while a family of four may see their annual cost drop by as much as $2,313. You'll find out whether you qualify when you apply for health coverage through GetCoveredNJ. This new program is funded by a 2.5% tax on individual and large group health plans sold in New Jersey. 

Medicaid. If your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in New Jersey.

For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in New Jersey.

5. You can get help signing up if you need it.

A couple of years back, the Trump administration drastically cut funding for programs that provide help with health insurance enrollment. But the Biden administration is expected to quickly reverse that trend, making it much easier to get the information you need to get covered. To connect with local support resources, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in New Jersey.


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Newark, NJ: Law