State HIX Early Deadlines Extended

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 16, 2012

"It might be in the long run better for everyone if it could be delayed a year, except for the folks who are going to benefit from the financial assistance," she says. "I don't know if there is a way to accommodate them that also gives us a little more time to get ready. But it wouldn't surprise me if it is in the mix as the Congress re-convenes."

Weil acknowledges that reviewing and certifying the exchanges and monitoring their implementation over the next 13 months will prove challenging but he says federal officials have already known that for months.

"It's been clear for some time that there were going to be a bunch of states that wanted to do it themselves and a bunch of states that didn't want to do it at all and a bunch of states in the middle, which is why they created the partnership model," he says.

"It's been difficult to know the numbers of states in each category but the existence of the categories is no surprise. The hard part is now you have to make all three of those models work. But again, we've never been in a situation where it seemed like everyone was going to be in one thing or another."

Weil says he believes the exchanges will be "operational" by Jan. 1, 2014, but likely not without hiccups.

"There will be bugs just like there were with Medicare Part D and the prescription drug benefits," he says. "It's not going to be perfect the day it starts. But this is something that they have been working on for a long time. The deadlines have been clear for a long time. I think we know what it takes to get it done and they will be up and running."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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