The governor has announced that the insurance exchange will be handed over to federal officials.
According to a spokesperson for Governor Jack Dalrymple, of North Dakota, the state does not intend to take on the central element of the health care reforms, the online insurance exchange, for themselves, but will instead have the federal government run it for them.
The Affordable Care Act requires that all states have one of these online marketplaces by 2014.
The federal health care reforms include an element that says that every state must run an insurance exchange themselves, partner with the federal government to operate it jointly, or hand over control so that federal officials can create and implement the program. This online marketplace is meant to give small businesses, families, and individuals the chance to view the different types of plans that are available to them, compare coverage, and shop for the best prices.
The original deadline the states faced for making their health care reforms decisions was last Friday.
However, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday night that they were providing an extension until December 4. This was granted in the hopes of providing the states with an additional opportunity to study their ability to create the programs for themselves and implement them in time for the January 1, 2014 deadline, by which the marketplaces must be fully operational.
Jody Link, the spokesperson for Dalrymple, said that North Dakota’s Department of Human Services director, Maggie Anderson, contacted the federal agency by the original deadline to underline the fact that the state would not be moving forward with this part of the health care reforms. This did not come as a surprise to many, as the state has been suggesting that it would not be creating its own health insurance exchange for quite some time.
Supporters of the health care reforms have said that North Dakota should have taken some part in its own insurance exchange, as it would help the program to be better customized to the needs of the state’s residents. They have also said that it would help to create better benefit plan flexibility.
However, opponents of those same health care reforms say that the design of the law leaves the majority of the authority for decision making in federal hands, so it wouldn’t make a difference whether it was state- or federally run.