Illinois Is 3rd State Approved To Partner With Feds

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday to announce the state had become the third to receive conditional approval to run a health insurance exchange in partnership with the federal government. Other states are also taking steps to develop their exchanges -- or, at least, mulling what to do next.

California Healthline: Path To Partnership: More States Opt For HHS' Hybrid Exchanges
New Hampshire: We're in. North Carolina: We're not. The two states on Tuesday were the latest to announce their intentions on the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. States have until Feb. 15 to tell HHS whether they'll retain even some control over the exchanges, or let the Obama administration run the exchanges for them. And while New Hampshire made clear that it wants to partner with the federal government to launch an insurance exchange, North Carolina backed out of a previous plan to do exactly that. By Friday, we'll know where half a dozen other states stand, too (Diamond, 2/13).

The Hill: Illinois To Partner With HHS On Healthcare Exchange
The Health and Human Services Department gave conditional approval Wednesday to a "partnership" insurance exchange in Illinois. HHS has been pushing states toward a partnership model if they're not prepared to run their entire exchange alone but also want to retain some control over the new marketplace, rather than ceding it entirely to the federal government (Baker, 2/13).

CQ Healthbeat: Sebelius Visits Illinois To Announce Conditional Approval For Partnership Exchange
Aiming to build a sense of momentum surrounding implementation of the health care law, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced at an event in Chicago with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday that his state has received a conditional nod to run a health insurance exchange in partnership with the federal government. Illinois becomes the third state to receive a conditional approval for a partnership. HHS had already given that status to Arkansas and Delaware (Reichard, 2/13).

Modern Healthcare: Ill. Joins Feds As Exchange Deadline Nears
Illinois became the third state to receive conditional approval to launch a health insurance exchange in partnership with the federal government less than eight months from now. The announcement came days before a Feb. 15 deadline for states to apply to participate in that model in 2014. The deadline is three months later than originally planned. The Obama administration extended the window in November to give more time to states with newly elected governors and others that awaited the presidential election outcome to choose a direction. The partnership model is one of three options for health insurance exchanges—recently rebranded by HHS as marketplaces—required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. States also can apply to operate their own marketplaces or they can take no action and default to a federally operated exchange (Daly, 2/13).

The Associated Press: Michigan Lawmakers Mull $31M For Health Care Exchange
Gov. Rick Snyder's administration told lawmakers Wednesday it needs their approval within weeks to spend a $31 million federal grant to help build a consumer-friendly health insurance marketplace under the contentious federal health care overhaul, or else the state will be stuck with a bill. Though Republicans rejected the GOP governor's request to spend federal money on a state-run exchange last year, the issue is not going away because open enrollment for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Michigan residents is less than eight months away (Eggert, 2/13).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: House Passes Bill To Create License Standards For Health Care Exchange
The Georgia House passed a bill Wednesday that would require health insurance navigators to be licensed in order to help uninsured Georgians and businesses use a federally backed online health insurance exchange. House Bill 198, introduced by Rep. Richard Smith, R-Columbus, would establish training and licensing procedures for the navigators, whose positions are required elements of the Affordable Care Act. The navigators cannot advise consumers to opt for specific plans, but they can help consumers learn about Medicaid eligibility, federal tax subsidies and health plan options (Leslie, 2/13).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Measure Would Create Funding Stream For Exchange And Expand Medicaid
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and state health officials on Wednesday outlined some of the final steps in a three-year effort to create a health benefit exchange in Maryland as part of the federal health care overhaul (2/13).

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