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Wednesday, August 15, 2012
by Sara Hansard
The Department of Health and Human Services Aug. 14 released its final “blueprint” for states to use to apply to operate their own online health insurance “exchange” markets in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or for states to use to apply to form partnerships with the federal government to operate the exchanges.
Continuing its trend of trying to entice states to work with the federal government to create the crucial exchanges by expanding options, the final blueprint specifies that states that do not operate their own exchange or partner with the federal government can still conduct their own eligibility reviews for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. States can also operate their own reinsurance program to protect insurers against risk in the exchanges if they do not operate exchanges or form partnerships under the final blueprint.
Speaking at the first of four regional implementation forums at HHS headquarters Aug. 14, Michael Hash, director of the Office of Health Reform and acting director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, told about 450 participants: “We’re very interested in leveraging the expertise and the resources of state departments of insurance when it comes to the review of things like the credentials of qualified health plans, and certainly when it comes to the need for consumer education and outreach.”
Hash said that as of late July HHS had received letters from the governors of 13 states making a commitment to operate their own exchanges in 2014. States have until Nov. 16 to notify HHS of their intention to operate their own exchanges or partner with HHS. HHS must certify, or give conditional certification to, states that will operate their own exchanges by Jan. 1, 2013.
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