medical bills

Fired-up N.J. Senate President calls opposition to costly auto insurance plan ‘nonsense’

New Jersey’s top lawmaker came out swinging in fierce defense of his legislation that could force more than 1 million people in the state to pay more for car insurance each year.

Senate President Nicholas Scutari on Monday defended the bill that would hike the minimum amount of liability insurance in the Garden State from its current $15,000 coverage to $25,000 beginning in 2023, and a minimum of $35,000 starting in 2026. He says it’s long overdue to protect victims of crashes.

“This is all nonsense,” said Scutari, D-Union, during a Senate committee hearing, arguing the cost to drive in the state would not immediately increase.

“(Insurers) cannot raise rates for a minimum of three and a half years. They cannot substantiate a raise in rates when we go to $25,000 in coverage. The industry cannot substantiate it. It is an impossibility. The Department of Banking and Insurance will not allow it,” he said.

“The people of New Jersey need this Legislature to protect them from themselves because we tell them what they need to get, and that’s what they get.”

He added taxpayers are the ones who are stuck with the costs to “subsidize unpaid medical bills” and

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Student-Loan Borrower Chooses Between Paying Debt and Health Insurance

  • Robin O’Brien, 61, has $64,000 in student debt from her master’s degree.
  • She’s experiencing long COVID, which has caused her to work part time earning half an income.
  • Now, she’s forced to choose between affording health insurance or paying off her student debt.

Even on an income-driven repayment plan for her $64,000 student-debt load, Robin O’Brien can’t afford the payments.

After working in long-term care facilities for 25 years, O’Brien said the next step in her career was becoming an administrator — but in order to be in that field while making a sufficient income, she needed a master’s degree. When she took out federal loans to take online classes at two public universities, and after graduating in 2017, there was no way she could have foreseen the pandemic and the financial strain it would bring.

Now, she’s dealing with long-COVID symptoms that forced her to work part time, and her medical bills and student-debt bills are unmanageable.

“Right now, I’m picking five of the envelopes with medical bills, and then I’ll pay them $20 apiece,” O’Brien said, referring to the stack of bills she gets each month. “And the next month I’ll take five

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