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With N.J. leaving exchange to the feds, hospital CEOs await what's next

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Atlantic Health's Joseph Trunfio says taking the lead from Washington is a good plan for exchanges, which are 'very fluid' and tough for a state to run alone.
Atlantic Health's Joseph Trunfio says taking the lead from Washington is a good plan for exchanges, which are 'very fluid' and tough for a state to run alone.

New Jersey is now one of 26 states that will rely on the federal government to set up and run its health insurance exchange, and the level of concern from health care executives varies.

Joseph A. Trunfio, president and CEO of Atlantic Health, said Gov. Chris Christie's decision to leave the exchange to the federal government was the right call.

"The exchanges were very fluid, in terms of the specifics of how they would, could and should operate," Trunfio said. "At this point, for the state, I think taking the lead from the federal government as these get set up and supporting that is a good decision."

Trunfio added that state-run exchanges are similar to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services demonstration projects in that, while they are very well thought out, they are still part of developing what the final product will look like.

Chet Kaletkowski, president and CEO of South Jersey Healthcare, said he's interested in seeing how the federal government will create an exchange that is good for New Jersey.

"What does that mean for employers? Their employees come to my hospital, they reimburse me. What type of insurance product will be out there?" Kaletkowski said. "All that newness creates a level of complexity."

The health insurance exchanges are expected to be taking open enrollment in October for 2014 plans.

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