TRENTON — A new agreement means uninterrupted coverage for Aetna's 1.2 million New Jersey members at RWJBarnabas Health facilities.

Facing a Saturday deadline, the agreement keeps RWJBarnabas as an in-network provider for the next two years. It's also the first deal made with the health provider after their 2016 merger.

Aetna sent a letter to its members in March, warning that the hospital system was looking for "a significant rate increase," that "we do not believe can be supported in the market." Barnabas said that the letter was a "routine letter" that was required to be sent 30 days before their agreement expired.

Michael Costa, Aetna’s Executive Director for New Jersey, in a statement called the agreement "exciting news" that allows them to continue their work "transforming health care for our customers and members."

Jay Picerno, Chief Operating Officer for RWJBarnabas Health added that his company "is committed to providing the highest quality care to our patients and, by continuing and strengthening our relationship with Aetna, we look forward to offering the finest care to all Aetna participants and subscribers, as always.”

RWJBarnabas operates 12 hospitals in New Jersey, as well as outpatient service, ambulatory surgery centers, hospice, home care, and infusion services.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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