An extra month was given states by the Obama administration to decide whether or not they plan to operate their own health insurance exchanges. Governors asked for more time since the re-election ensured the survival of Obama’s healthcare overhaul. Opponents of the plan held high hopes that a victory for Republican Mitt Romney would ultimately result in the law’s repeal.
After Obama’s victory, states needed more time to prepare for exchanges, which are complex marketplaces meant to offer working families private insurance at federally subsidized rates beginning in 2014.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius extended deadlines for the second time in six days. On November 15th, she sent a letter to governors telling them that states would now have until Dec. 14 to tell her department if they plan to set up an exchange.
The deadline for a letter of intent was originally set for midnight on Friday. Last week Sebelius told governors they would have until Dec. 14 to file a blueprint showing how their exchanges would operate.
“While receiving a letter of intent now will help us assist states in finalizing their application, a state may submit both a letter of intent and an application to operate its own exchange by Dec. 14,” Sebelius said in a letter to Republican governors.
“States may also apply to operate their exchange in partnership with the federal government by Feb. 15, 2013. And a state may apply at any time to run an exchange in future years,” she wrote.
“We are confident governors will have enough time to decide whether they want to establish an exchange, work in partnership with the federal government or have a federally facilitated exchange in their state,” Sebelius wrote in the letter.
Source: Insurance Journal – Reuters