NJ Health Insurance Exchange Nears Reality

Tuesday, 28 Feb 2012 04:28 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Jersey legislators are close to creating a health insurance exchange, but the law is facing strong opposition from the state’s health insurance businesses. The state Senate Commerce Committee voted Monday in favor of the health insurance exchange, which would join others being formed nationwide as part of Obamacare, reports njspotlight.com.
The exchange would provide a safe place online for consumers and businesses to buy health coverage. The bill was approved earlier this month by an Assembly committee, and after the Senate committee’s vote heads to the full legislature for a vote.
State insurers oppose the bill, claiming the measure gives too much power to the program’s governing board. Just who will serve on the board is also being hotly contested.
The proposal excludes people employed by health insurers and healthcare providers from the governing board, and prohibits board members from taking jobs in insurance or healthcare for two years after they leave the group.
While advocates say the provision will help the board avoid conflicts of interest, insurers say the board will be much less effective without the expertise insiders would bring.
The bill will also create a separate advisory board, which will include insurance, healthcare, and consumer advocate representatives, and the advisory committee chair will have a non-voting seat on the governing board.
The Christie administration has not weighed in on the proposed bill. Under Obamacare, if a state decides not to run its own exchange, the federal government will step in and do it instead.

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