On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave conditional approval to federal-state benefits exchange partnerships in four states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan. The announcement signifies nearly half of states have taken action to implement health insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act, the department stated.
“Working together, we will be ready in seven months when consumers will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
As of Thursday, 24 states and the District of Columbia have received conditional approval to operate an online healthcare marketplace independently or in partnership with the federal government. Governors of the other 26 states have asked Washington to run the exchanges on their behalf, claiming too little time, money or information prevented them from creating a system.
While HHS has granted states deadline extensions for decision announcements and blueprint submissions concerning benefits exchanges over the past year, the department insisted it will be ready to open enrollment on October 1 and activate markets on January 1 to provide U.S. residents with a platform to shop for and purchase coverage on, according to The Washington Times.