States Get Extra Time On Health Insurance Exchanges

News organizations covered the late-afternoon Friday development - a letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Kaiser Health News: Obama Administration Extends Deadline For State Exchanges
The Obama administration on Friday gave states more time to submit plans to set up state-based health insurance exchanges, a concession to the reality that many states had delayed planning until they saw who won the presidential election (Galewitz, 11/9).

NBC News: States Get 3 More Weeks For Health Exchange Plans
"The deadline for a Declaration letter for a State-based exchange remains Friday, November 16, 2012," [Sebelius] wrote in a letter to governors. "However, today, in order to continue to provide you with appropriate technical support if you are pursuing a State-based exchange, HHS is extending the deadline for State-based Exchange Blueprint application submissions to Friday, December 14, 2012." (Fox, 11/9).

KHN has a pdf of the letter from Secretary Sebelius to governors.

The Hill: HHS Offers States Extra Time On Exchanges
The [Affordable Care Act] envisions each state running its own exchange, but authorizes a federal fallback in states that don't move to set up their own marketplace. ... even some conservative governors have been quietly studying how an exchange would work, preferring to set their own rules rather than defer to HHS (Baker, 11/9).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Administration Extends Health Law Deadline
These exchanges are designed to allow Americans who don’t get coverage through work to buy insurance on Internet-based marketplaces much as they shop for airline tickets today. They were to be operated by states starting next fall so consumers could get insurance starting in 2014. But just 15 states, including California, Maryland and Connecticut, as well as the District of Columbia, have established an exchange, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation (Levey, 11/9).

The New York Times: U.S. Extends a Deadline for States on Coverage
The White House has repeatedly said that states were making excellent progress toward creation of the exchanges, even as Republican governors and state legislators expressed ambivalence or outright opposition. In addition, state officials who want to establish exchanges said they were having difficulty because Mr. Obama had yet to issue crucial regulations and guidance (Pear, 11/9).

The Washington Post: For Hurried States, Obama Administration Extends Health Law Deadline
Many states, however, have already made a decision not to play any role in setting up their exchanges: Florida, Kansas and Virginia all announced Thursday that they would leave the task to the federal government. States have cited their opposition to the health care law as one reason they won’t move forward. Others also see logistical challenges: If they rush to set up the marketplace, it may not have a smooth launch (Kliff, 11/9).

The Associated Press: States Get More Time To Work On Health Care Plans
In a concession to procrastinators, Sebelius said states considering a partnership with the federal government to run their exchanges can now have until mid-February to make a decision and submit their blueprints (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/9).

Politico Pro: HHS Pushes Back Exchange Decision Deadline
The new HHS deadline ... also gives the Obama administration more time to issue rules that have been on hold in the months leading up to the election. State officials — Republican and Democrat alike — have complained that the administration hasn’t provided key details on ground rules for exchanges, benefits that health plans must provide and the health law’s now-voluntary Medicaid expansion, among other new requirements in the health care law (Millman, 11/9).

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