This article appears in the February 2013 issue of HealthLeaders Media's Medicine on the Net newsletter.
One of cornerstones of federal healthcare reform is the health insurance exchange, an online marketplace where consumers will be able to shop for health insurance plans and apply for federal subsidies to help pay for monthly premiums. But with the arrival of healthcare reform less than one year away, the federal government is scrambling to ensure that every state has an exchange ready to launch by October.
As of January, only 18 states and the District of Columbia had committed to building and operating their own health insurance exchanges. The rest will either partner with the federal government to build an exchange or exercise a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and let the federal government build and operate one for them.
The deadline for states to announce whether they plan to build their own health insurance exchanges or partner with the federal government is February 15.
Most states opting out
Constructing exchanges for 32 states in less than a year could be a daunting task but federal officials say they'll be ready to go.
"All exchanges will be open for enrollment in October 2013," said Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO).