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Federal Officials Give States Extra Time To Establish Exchanges

01/17/13

  05:44:04 pm, by MedBen5   , 241 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Officials Give States Extra Time To Establish Exchanges

With only a handful of states committed to operating health insurance exchanges, the Obama administration is undoubtedly concerned how the federal government will somehow oversee the remaining states. So the announcement by the White House extending the state deadline to set up exchanges came as little surprise.

According to The New York Times, the Affordable Care Act set a Jan 1, 2013 deadline for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine whether states were ready to operate the online insurance marketplaces. Finding only 17 states in that position, secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided to extend, or even waive, the deadline for any state that expressed interest in creating their own exchange or, at the very least, regulating insurance sold through a federal exchange.

Of course, with every American required to have insurance coverage starting in January 2014, states that have procrastinated thus far are unlikely to have a working exchange in place by then. That leaves federal officials faced with the reality that they will have the primary responsibility for running exchanges in at least half the states next year – a challenge that, based on early evidence, it may not be prepared to handle.

“I assume the federal government is working quickly to build an exchange here and in other states,” said Julie J. Cox-Kain, the chief operating officer of the Oklahoma Health Department. “But the only evidence we’ve seen is a couple of telephone calls seeking information about state insurance regulations.”

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