There's always a possibility costs could come down in the future, Samples said. But he said there's no guarantee the state would do a better job with the exchange.
Although Earley at one point supported the state-based exchange, he later came out in support of the partnership. He said Monday it's too early to change course.
"They made the original decision to go with the partnership model after a lot of study and deliberation..." Earley said.
"You never want to make a decision of that magnitude in a knee-jerk reaction."
Bryant admitted there might not be the political will at the moment for such a move. But he's confident it would be a win for the state.
While Earley and Samples don't think it's time for a system shift, they agree problems at the federal level are affecting West Virginia.
Earley wouldn't say how many people in West Virginia have signed up for coverage through the exchange until the federal government releases its own enrollment numbers.
However, he called the state numbers "disappointing" and "much less than what we had hoped for."
Bryant, Samples and Earley agree continued issues with the federal web portal pose significant problems for the system as a whole.
People with serious health risks are more likely to battle with the federal health care website to ensure they get coverage than people who are relatively healthy. That leaves the door open for a higher percentage of sick people actually participating in the system.
The entire law is based on the idea that healthy people -- through the individual mandate --will sign up and pay for insurance, helping cover costs for the less healthy and keep costs relatively low for all.
"If you only have the older, less healthy people sign up, premiums are higher," Bryant said. "It can be a death spiral."
Samples also used the phrase "death spiral" in describing potential problems if the federal portal continues to falter and healthy people don't sign up.
Anyone who doesn't have coverage by March 31, 2014 faces a fine. In the first year of the law, it's $95 or 1 percent of a person's taxable income, whichever is greater.
The faltering federal rollout recently drew calls from some lawmakers to push back the sign-up deadline. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he's working on legislation that would delay the penalty entirely in its first year.
"If people can't get the coverage and they've tried, how are you going to impose some type of mandate or penalty?" Samples said.
He pointed out the state-based Medicaid expansion is going well. Earlier this year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin decided the state would increase coverage eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.
More than 60,000 have enrolled since Oct. 1, Samples said Monday. Many signed up through auto-enrollment letters, but there are still thousands more eligible who have not signed up, Samples said.
Originally the state sent out 118,000 letters, and Samples said it plans to send them again to those who did not respond to the first round of letters.
People can also sign up for the expanded Medicaid coverage through www.wvinroads.org which is operating without problems, Samples said.