Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: email@example.com
Seven more states have received the necessary approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a state-run health insurance exchange.
California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Utah had their applications for a state exchange conditionally approved by HHS, the department announced Thursday. They join 10 other states (Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington) that had previously been approved for a state exchange.
Arkansas was also approved for a partnership exchange. Delaware is the only other state to receive approval for a partnership exchange thus far.
HHS also released new guidance Thursday about partnership exchanges. Most analysts expect that the Obama administration will try to entrice as many states as possible to take that option, therefore lightening the administrative burden for HHS. Partnership exchanges allow states to operate some of the marketplace's functions, such as certifying insurance plans to be sold and overseeing customer services.
States must submit an application for a partnership exchange by Feb. 15. The deadline for state exchanges passed in December, though HHS has indicated that states with a federal or parternship exchange in the first year may decide to transition to a state exchange in later years.
If states decide not to establish a state exchange or pursue a partnership model, the federal government will set up their exchange. As many as 30 states could have a federal-run exchange in 2014, the first year of operations. The online marketplaces are required to open for enrollment on Oct. 1, 2013.