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Half of states get insurance exchange green light

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 25, 2013

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The Dept. of Health and Human Services at this article’s deadline had given 24 states and the District of Columbia conditional approval either to fully or partially run health insurance exchanges starting in 2014. Authorized by the health system reform law, the new marketplaces will enable consumers to shop for a variety of private health plan options.

Most recently, HHS conditionally approved Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and West Virginia to operate partnership exchanges, a model in which states retain traditional insurance duties while receiving financial and structural support from the federal government. The marketplaces in these states will be ready for open enrollment in October, according to HHS.

At this article’s deadline, seven states in total had chosen the partnership exchange option, and 17 states and the District of Columbia were pursuing state-run exchanges. Twenty-six states will default to the federal government to run their exchanges if no further approvals are forthcoming.

“HHS will continue to work collaboratively with all states to build the marketplace,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “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.”

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