National Journal, by Margot Sanger-Katz –
November 12, 2012:
The Obama administration has given states an extension on their applications to build their own insurance marketplaces.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to states on Friday, advising them that they would have more time to develop their “blueprints.” The original deadline was next Friday.
“We have heard from many states tha additional time would allow you to submit a more comprehensive, complete Blueprint application for your Exchange,” Sebelius’s letter says.
The extension makes sense given many states’ reluctance to move forward with exchange planning until the election outcome was clear—and the lack of regulatory clarity about key details that states say they need to decide what sort of exchange they will build. Also on Friday, HHS sent two exchange-related rules to the Office of Management and Budget for review.
States that wish to build their own exchanges still need to notify HHS next Friday, but they will have another month to submit detailed plans. States that want to work in partnership with the federal government, building some parts of their exchanges and relying on federal resources for others, can submit plans any time before Feb. 15. (States that fail to get either type of plan approved will default to a federally run exchange.)
The letter emphasizes that the application extensions do not mean that HHS plans to delay the rollout of exchanges. They are expected to begin open enrollment next October, and plans are scheduled to go live in January 2014.