States will now have until December 14th to submit their applications to run their state-based insurance exchanges, according to a letter issued last week by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The announcement clarified that states must still decide whether or not to run their own exchanges by the original deadline of November 16th – but they will now have an extra month to submit their exchange design blueprints to HHS. In addition, the deadline for states planning to operate a joint federal-state partnership exchange has been extended to February 15, 2013.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ letter comes at a critical time for states, many of whom had delayed decisions on their insurance exchanges. Many states had been waiting first to learn the Supreme Court’s verdict on the constitutionality of the ACA and then to see how the outcome of the elections would affect the likely future of the law. With President Obama’s reelection and the balance of power in Congress split between Democrats and Republicans, the law’s major provisions are now safe.
So far, 13 states and the District of Columbia have declared their intent to create a state-run exchange. For the latest information on states’ progress on setting up exchanges, visit the State Refor(u)m website at http://www.statereforum.org/states/indicator/exchanges.