This fall, New Jersey will transition to a state-based marketplace for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

To get ready for the open enrollment period, which starts in November, the state Department of Banking and Insurance launched a special program to help people who may be unsure about insurance options. Community organizations across the Garden State can now apply to serve as insurance navigators.

The Banking and Insurance Department is making available $4 million in grants to navigators so they are able to “provide these services to our uninsured, to our under-insured and to our hard-to-reach population in the state at no cost," Commissioner Marlene Caride said.

“These community organizations will provide public education activities and offer free and impartial assistance to our consumers,” she said.

She noted residents may not fully understand their options and what specific coverage might be best for them. The navigators can walk them through the process and help them shop for the best plan.

Navigators will also be able to let residents know if they qualify for any federal subsidies that can help to reduce their monthly health insurance payments.

Beginning Nov. 1, when the state-based marketplace kick in, New Jersey residents will have more options and expanded opportunities to purchase health insurance, including those who lost coverage because they became unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

State regulators will require all navigators to complete state training and certification to assist consumers with their health insurance questions and enrollment on the state marketplace.

The $4 million grant program will be funded by the user fees that previously went to the federal government to support the federally facilitated exchange.

The open enrollment period is expected to run from Nov. 1 until Jan. 31.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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