States Lean on Feds for Health Insurance Exchanges

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , December 17, 2012

Governors from Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey cited similar concerns. At issue is the short run-up to prepare for an influx of healthcare consumers who will be looking to buy health insurance in 2014. Health insurance exchanges are part of the PPACA, but since open enrollment for 2014 begins October 2013, states only have ten months to set up the exchanges.

So far 25 states have decided to leave not only setting up the exchange, but also running them to the federal government.  Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have said they will run their own insurance exchange, half have been granted conditional approval from the federal government: Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, New York, Kentucky, and Washington D.C.

The third option states had was to partner with the government on running the exchange. Only two states, Delaware and Illinois, have officially declared their intent to do so, though five others have said publicly they prefer the partnership option: Iowa, Michigan, Arkansas, West Virginia, and North Carolina. States have until February 15, 2013 to decide whether it will partner or not.

HHS extended deadlines for states to decide on running their own health insurance exchanges by about 30 days. The initial deadline was November 16.  Now that HHS has its list of which states will run their own exchanges, Secretary Sebelius has until January 1 to grant conditional approval to them.

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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