Feds approve ACA exchange plans in eight states

Seven additional states will operate their own insurance exchanges

HHS on Thursday granted conditional approval to seven more states that intend to operate their own health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while Arkansas received conditional approval to partner with the federal government for its exchange.

The seven states are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Vermont.

  • What do your 30 million new patients have in common? When the insurance exchanges come online in 2014, the exchanges will expand coverage to millions of new individuals. How will these new patients affect your hospital's margins? Read more.

Following Thursday's announcement, a total of 18 states and the District of Columbia have obtained federal approval to operate their own exchanges, while two states have been approved for partnerships with the government.

Twenty-five states have asked the federal government to operate an exchange for them. States that are not running their own exchanges still have until mid-February to inform HHS if they want to partner with the government.

Although many GOP governors have resisted establishing state-based exchanges, four of the states approved Thursday for the state-based marketplaces—Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—are headed by Republicans. Republican-led Mississippi has applied to operate its own exchange, but has yet to receive approval.

According to Kaiser Health News, the Utah approval came as a surprise to many industry experts because Gov. Gary Herbert (R) had refused to make major changes to the state's existing exchange, which was establish prior to the passage of the ACA.

HHS this week also issued guidance on partnership exchanges for those states still considering whether to jointly run an exchange. The exchanges are scheduled to begin operations on Jan. 1, 2014 (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/3; Morgan, Reuters, 1/3; Levey, Los Angeles Times, 1/3; Galewitz, "Capsules," KHN, 1/3).

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