Health insurance exchanges a go in 18 states

Vermont Health insurance exchanges
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Health insurance exchangesSebelius announces 18 states are pursuing health insurance exchanges

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced that 18 states are planning to develop and operate their own health insurance exchanges. All states were required to submit their formal plans for an exchange program by December 14. According to Sebelius, the number of states that are building their own health insurance exchanges aligns with the predictions of the Department of Health and Human Services. Though the deadline has passed, states still have the opportunity to develop their own health insurance exchanges.

Affordable Care Act calls for exchange programs

Health insurance exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act. These initiatives are meant to be digital marketplaces where consumers can find affordable, yet comprehensive health insurance plans. All states have been tasked with the development of their own exchange system, but they have the option to opt out of the initiative. For states that choose not to build their own exchange programs, the federal government will assume responsibility and ensure a working exchange system is established.

Several states opt for state-federal partnership

According to Sebelius, the states that are building their own health insurance exchanges are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Utah. These states will be solely responsible for the governance and development of their exchange programs. The remaining eight states will enter into a partnership with the federal government. The responsibility of the health insurance exchanges in these states will be split between federal and state officials.

Remaining states have until February to declare their stance on health insurance exchange

The remaining 32 states face a new deadline concerning their plans for health insurance exchanges. These states must announce their plans by February 15, 2013, or risk losing control of their exchange initiatives to the federal government. It is still uncertain whether these states will adhere to this deadline, as many claim that the federal government is not providing the support needed for these states to build an adequate exchange system.

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