New Jersey may be one step closer to building its own health insurance exchange after state officials, industry analysts and stakeholders met Wednesday to discuss the issue. The meeting was hosted by the NJ for Health Care and NJ Citizen Action Education Fund. Both organizations advocate health care reform for the sake of New Jersey residents. Born from the meeting was a common consensus that the state should take measures to establish its own insurance exchange to ensure that it has control of the program by the 2014 deadline.
Ray Castro, senior policy analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective, believes that the state should act as soon as possible in order to ensure there is enough time to fashion the exchange to meet the needs of consumers. Others attending the meeting disagreed with this notion, however, arguing that New Jersey already has some of the best health care laws in the nation and that there was no need for an exchange.
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The unavoidable fact is that all states are required to host a fully functioning insurance exchange by 2014. The federal government will take charge of building and running exchanges in states that fail to meet the deadline.
Attendees of the meeting have determined that New Jersey should be in charge of its own exchange and that it should be as simple and easy to use as possible. The state has yet to pass legislation allowing an exchange program to be built, but such legislation is expected to come to the Legislature by the end of the year.