The departments of Health and Human Services and the Treasury yesterday approved a Section 1332 waiver for New Jersey to implement a five-year reinsurance program for its individual health insurance market beginning in 2019. The state expects the program to lower premiums by 15% in 2019 and increase enrollment in its individual market. New Jersey also recently passed a statewide health insurance mandate to stabilize its individual market and bans short-term, limited-duration plans that do not cover pre-existing conditions.

Under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act, states can apply for a waiver of certain ACA requirements but must demonstrate that the proposed waiver would provide access to quality health care that is at least as comprehensive and affordable as without the waiver, and coverage to at least a comparable number of residents. Wisconsin, Maine, Oregon, Minnesota and Alaska also have received waivers to run reinsurance programs since the ACA’s transitional reinsurance program expired in 2016.

To reduce premiums and stabilize the individual market for 2019 and beyond, AHA has encouraged the administration to approve state efforts to stabilize the health insurance marketplaces, and has urged Congress to create a federal reinsurance program and provide multi-year funding for cost-sharing reduction benefits.