HHS ushers in eight more states for health exchanges

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services Flickr user US Mission Geneva

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday announced that eight additional states have satisfied regulatory criteria in their efforts to establish health insurance exchanges under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

That brings to 19, plus the District of Columbia, the number that have been conditionally approved to partially or fully run their marketplaces, or state-based exchanges. HHS also issued refined guidance to the remaining states, which have until Feb. 15, 2013, to apply to implement a hybrid approach called a state partnership exchange.

Under the law, states may create their own exchanges -- or “marketplaces” that offer consumers a choice among competing private health plans -- or the federal government will facilitate one for them so that all 50 states offer coverage. Because the law known informally as “Obamacare” is politically controversial, many Republican governors and legislatures have declined to prepare for the exchanges, which go live in 2014.

“From the beginning, this process was guided by a belief that states know their own needs better than anyone else,” Sebelius said in a conference call with reporters. “It’s encouraging to see so many moving forward to do just that. No matter what state Americans live in, they now will have a better health coverage option, and the marketplaces being built will usher in a brand new day.”

No longer will consumers have to study the fine print of insurance policies looking for loopholes, she added. “The right plan is less costly and less complicated than ever before. We will work with states every step of the way to make these marketplaces a reality.”

The states newly conditionally approved for state-based exchanges are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Utah. Arkansas is conditionally approved to operate a state partnership exchange.

Last year, approval for a state-based exchange was given to Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington. Delaware was OK'd for a state partnership exchange.

Conditional approval, said Gary Cohen, director of HHS’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, means the state’s plan is “neither approved nor denied” while the department continues overseeing each state’s ongoing activities in managing the marketplaces and helping consumers. Individuals, families and businesses who seek insurance under the law may be eligible for tax credits.

“There will be future opportunities to become a state-based exchange,” Cohen added, describing an annual process that means states could apply by this November to stand up an exchange by 2015. States that opt for the hybrid approach could pursue full exchanges later on, the guidance says.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.