An online resource page to help New Jersey consumers and business owners understand what the Affordable Care Act means for them has been launched by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute at its website, www.njhcqi.org.
The site offers frequently-asked-questions and answers, and a page of links to NJHCQI reviewed and approved resources, such as the Kaiser Family Foundation's Subsidy Calculator and www.thehealthsherpa.com, a private, non-government site created to allow consumers to review their health insurance options, including prices, prior to visiting healthcare.gov.
David Knowlton, the institute's president, said there's a clear need for the site.
"Over the past several months, we've seen a lot of confusion on the Affordable Care Act," he said. "More distressing is that there has been a lot of conflicting and even misleading information thrown at consumers.
"What people really need and want is simple: a breakdown of exactly what they need to know about ObamaCare and how it is going to affect their lives."
The Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in 2010, has been at the center of a contentious debate since its passage and has experienced a rocky history in terms of public support. In a poll released in September by the institute in conjunction with the Monmouth University Polling Institute, New Jerseyans were found to approve of the ACA, yet very few actually understood and recognized what was in the law.
Just over half of New Jerseyans, 56 percent, were aware of the individual mandate, the central policy that would require Americans to buy health insurance if they don't have it.
"It's a 900-plus page law, but not all of those 900 pages contain vital information for individuals, families and business owners," Knowlton said. "We've tried to boil the law down to a manageable form using easy-to-understand language, and answer the most immediate questions."
Linda Schwimmer, vice president of the institute, said she hopes the site will become a destination.
"Our goal is to provide one place for New Jersey leaders to send folks for answers about the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey," she said. "The answers and tools such as cost calculators and innovative websites will go a long way in helping people understand their options."
The site, by the way, appears to be working perfectly.