The President has announced that states will be allowed more time to provide plans for implementing healthcare exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the Act, states must indicate whether they will create health insurance exchanges. If a state does not opt to create an exchange, the federal government will supply health insurance to its citizens through a federal exchange. At present, 20 states have adopted some sort of plan for a state healthcare exchange, 11 have opted not to create a state exchange, and the remainder are undecided. The deadline to opt into the state healthcare exchange system remains November 16, 2012.
While states must still act promptly to determine whether they will participate, they now have additional time to plan for implementation. Before the extension was granted, states would have been required to submit a Blueprint application, detailing implementation of the healthcare exchange, by November 16, 2012. Now, however, Blueprints must be submitted by December 14, 2012. Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, has indicated in a letter to state governors that the extension was granted to provide states with additional support in developing implementation plans. However, some commentators argue that the extension was granted in response to the “wait-and-see” approach adopted by the states in light of the recent election.
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