New Jersey has announced it will allow people to make emergency plans that will cover up to $100,000 in premiums, including for emergency services.
The move comes as New Jersey grapples with a rising number of emergency-related bills, including the cost of treating people with heart or lung conditions and the need to cover medical expenses in times of crisis.
New Jersey’s insurance commissioner, John DiVincenzo, said Tuesday the move will be a boon to people who need a plan but aren’t sure how to pay for it.
“We need to make it easier for people to take care of themselves in the case of an emergency, and that means we need to allow people the ability to make plans that cover up their medical costs,” DiVinzo said in a statement.
New York is the only state to offer plans that do not require an emergency medical response or an emergency coverage exemption.
The plan was introduced last year in response to rising costs, and is expected to go into effect next year.
However, DiVino said in his statement that New York’s new plan would only cover emergency medical costs and would not include any other emergency-care benefits.
The state’s insurance commissioners did not provide details on what would be covered in New York.
But insurance expert and former state Senator Robert Bixby told NBC New York that DiVini’s move is a sign that insurance companies will be open to offering plans that can cover the costs of an uninsured person, but not all costs.
“That’s one of the ways they’re trying to address that: The idea that you can get a plan that covers everything in one, even though some costs are deductible, is not going to be accepted in the states that have this law,” Bixin said.
But even though people can choose to opt out of the emergency-plan option, Divini said it’s not a good idea to do so, because insurers will still pay the full amount of a deductible and still cover other medical expenses.
“If you’re in a position where you don’t want to pay anything, and you don’ have insurance, I don’t think you’re going to have an advantage,” he said.
The New York law also requires insurers to include emergency-resuscitation options in plans sold to individuals, including in-home care and life-saving equipment.
While the New York bill includes an emergency-medical-response exemption, it’s still possible that it will be used by some other states to expand emergency-purchase plans.
New Hampshire passed an emergency response plan last year, but the law does not include the same protections as New York, according to New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Chris Wieland.
He said the state would be open for negotiation with other states that want to expand plans, including Alaska, California and Montana.
“They’re open to doing that,” Wielare said.
“And, yes, I’m sure there will be other states, I just think that it would take time and patience.”