Overseer of federal health insurance exchanges resigns

Joel ArioAs the federal government continues to push for the establishment of health insurance exchanges, while battling with states that reject the notion, an important member of the Department of Health and Human Services has resigned his position as Director of Health Insurance Exchanges. Joel Ario, once the man responsible for overseeing the program toward exchanges, is vacating his position for unknown reasons. It is unclear who will replace Ario, but HHS officials say that the transition will be as smooth as possible.

Ario’s departure comes on the heels of new guidelines coming from the HHS that are meant to help clarify some of the issues states have been having regarding the exchange program. Each state is required by federal law to establish a health insurance exchange by 2014. This provision of the Affordable Care Act has bred controversy and confusion from state legislators. The vague nature of exchanges, as outlined in the health care reform law, led many to question how, exactly, states were to accomplish the building of exchanges. This prompted the HHS to issue such guidelines.

Until a replacement for Ario is appointed, the federal oversight regarding insurance exchanges and whether states are adhering to the new guidelines, may be lax.

Speaking to reporters, Steve Larson, Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, noted that “exchange planning will proceed as it has up till now.” He told reporters that a smooth transition was planned.

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