No more gag rules.
A right to call 911 in a potentially life-threatening situation without prior HMO permission.
With these and other HMO regulations set to take effect March 15, New Jersey joins the growing movement by states to shield consumers from the potentially ill effects of managed care.
"Managed care can be a positive force in healthcare," said Len Fishman, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. But consumers need to be assured of protections and accountability, he said.
Two years in the making, the new rules were developed by the health department in cooperation with consumers, HMOs, doctors, nurses, business and labor. Since the state's original HMO rules were established in 1974, HMO enrollment has grown to more than 2 million from fewer than 5,000.
The New Jersey HMO Association said many of its 11 members already offer a number of the consumer protections that will be required under the new regulations.