Affordable Care Act deadline relaxed for the benefit of states

Affordable Care Act Health Care Reform

Affordable Care Act Health Care ReformAffordable Care Act continues to generate controversy with health insurance exchanges

The Affordable Care Act has been a point of contention throughout the U.S. since it was passed in 2010. One of the more problematic provisions of the fede4ral health care law requires each state to host a health insurance exchange. These exchanges are meant to be online marketplaces where consumers can find affordable coverage. The problem is that many states disagree with the basic precepts of the Affordable Care Act, thus oppose its provisions entirely, leading these states to avoid building an exchange themselves.

Few states submit plans for an exchange program

The fact that many states either refuse to build and exchange, or otherwise claim to be unable to, has been causing rumblings within the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the exchange efforts, has been warning states that they risk confronting a deadline that could threaten a state’s control over its exchange. By January 2014, all states are required to have a fully operational exchange system in place, but states had to inform the federal government of their intentions regarding an exchange program by January 1 of this year. According to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, only 18 states informed the government of their plans for an exchange.

States allowed more time to plan

With so few states informing the federal government of their plans, and so many with an overwhelming number of questions concerning the exchange initiative itself, the Department of Health and Human Services is extending the amount of time states have to build an exchange. Though the January 2014 deadline established by the Affordable Care Act will stay in place, states will have more time to develop their plans for a health insurance exchange before submitting these plans to the federal government.

January 2014 deadline still in place

Despite the allowance for more time, several states are still likely to refuse to comply with the Affordable Care Act. States that do not comply with the law’s deadlines will risk having their health insurance exchanges taken over by the federal government. In such cases, the federal government will be responsible for the building and governance of a state’s health insurance exchange system.


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