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What can I do if I am denied health care for COVID-19?

Last Updated: 10/15/2020

No one should be denied access to health care.

The Department of Health operates a 24-hour complaint hotline where patients, health care facility employees and other members of the public may file complaints about hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, home health agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, comprehensive personal care homes, adult medical day care, pediatric medical day facilities, and many other licensed acute- and long-term care facilities. You can reach the hotline at 1-800-792-9770. Callers may remain anonymous.

If you live in New Jersey and have symptoms of COVID-19, you can be tested at many public testing sites around New Jersey at no charge to you, regardless of your immigration status or whether you have health insurance. Find out if you need testing or care for COVID-19 by completing the COVID-19 Symptom Checker.

Individuals without health insurance may also be able to access care from community clinics or federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). Find a FQHC near you with this search tool. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) provide health care and COVID-19 testing without cost to all people without insurance and without regard to immigration status. Please call your local Federally Qualified Health Center ahead of time for availability and instructions.

If you do not have health insurance or lose coverage, you may be eligible for free or low-cost coverage (www.njfamilycare.org) through NJ FamilyCare, New Jersey's publicly funded health insurance program. NJ Family Care includes CHIP, Medicaid and Medicaid expansion populations and covers doctor visits, prescriptions, vision, dental care, mental health and substance use services and even hospitalization.

In addition, you can visit GetCoveredNJ, a one-stop shop for health insurance for residents who do not have coverage from an employer or other program. Under the State's new health exchange, individuals eligible for subsidy assistance and premium tax credits will find the lowest net premiums since the passage of the Affordable Care Act more than a decade ago.

Visit Getcovered.nj.gov to learn more and apply for health insurance. Open Enrollment starts November 1, but you can enroll any time if you have a major life change, like having a baby, moving or losing job-based insurance.

Protections From Discrimination and Harassment

Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), a place of public accommodation, which includes a doctor's office, hospital, clinic, testing site, or other medical facility cannot discriminate against you because of your actual or perceived race, national origin, religion, disability, or other LAD-protected characteristic.

This means medical facilities must ensure they do not discriminate in their provision of services, including the provision of tests or care related to COVID-19. For example, it is unlawful for a medical facility to discriminate in the administration of COVID-19 tests or provide different levels of COVID-19 treatment to Black and white patients because of their race.

Medical facilities also must take action to stop harassment based on LAD-protected characteristics if they know or should have known about it, even if the harassment comes from another patient.

For more information or to file a complaint, please visit NJCivilRights.gov, review DCR's guidance on Civil Rights and COVID-19, or call 973-648-2700.

Source:Governor's Remarks; https://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/covid.html