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18 states, District of Columbia to set up health insurance exchanges

18 states, District of Columbia to set up health insurance exchanges

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia intend to set up health insurance exchanges in 2014 where the uninsured, among others, will be able to obtain coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disclosed Monday.

Ms. Sebelius in a blog posting said HHS has received applications to set up exchanges from California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah.

Those applications come on top of previous HHS conditional approval of applications from the District of Columbia and eight other states: Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington.

The deadline for states to submit applications to run their own exchanges was Dec. 14.

However, states have until Feb. 15, 2013, to notify federal regulators that they intend to enter a partnership agreement with HHS in which the states will assume responsibility for some exchange functions, such as plan management.

In those states that decline either approach — setting up their own exchanges or entering a partnership agreement with HHS — the federal government will set up exchanges.

Open enrollment in the exchanges is scheduled to begin in October 2013. Aside from the uninsured, exchanges will be available to small employers, while in 2017 states have the option to open the exchanges to all employers.

“We're looking forward to Jan. 1, 2014, when consumers and small businesses will be enrolled through the exchanges in private health insurance plans and millions more Americans will have the coverage they need and deserve,” Ms. Sebelius wrote in her blog posting.