States may apply for exchange grants through 2014 and may use the funds through 2015. However, exchanges are expected to be up and running on Jan. 1, 2014.
HIX remains a political hot potato for some states. Only 11 states have enacted legislation to establish an exchange. Kansas, Louisiana, and Kansas officially returned their funding and their grants were closed out.
Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have established a state exchange. "Because it is not known whether the Affordable Care Act will remain, in whole or in part, it would be imprudent for New Jersey to create an exchange at this moment in time before critical threshold issues are decided with finality by the court," the Republican governor explained.
The Republican governor of New Mexico vetoed a similar bill last year.
The guidance documents released provide information about what HIX will look like in 2014 and how to navigate the process. States can run their own HIX or elect to partner with HHS. The Exchange Blueprint includes a detailed explanation of the activities that HIX will perform and the information that states will need to submit to get their exchange or partnership approved to operate in 2014.