On Wednesday, HHS announced that it has released an "Exchange Blueprint" to help states establish health insurance exchanges under the federal health reform law, Reuters reports.
HHS also released guidance outlining how it will work with states to establish a "federally facilitated exchange," or FFE, for states that opt not to create their own marketplaces.
According to HHS, states have until Nov. 16 to submit plans outlining how they will operate their exchanges (Morgan, Reuters, 5/16).
Under the reform law, states by January 2014 must create insurance exchanges that provide coverage options for individuals and small businesses.
States can administer their own exchanges -- for which they must have some infrastructure in place by January 2013 -- or ask the federal government to run the exchanges for them.
Most insurance exchanges will rely on a solid IT foundation to connect with advanced eligibility systems for Medicaid and other state-administered health programs (iHealthBeat, 3/12).
Details of the New HHS Guidance Materials
According to HHS, states that opt to operate their own exchanges must file for either full approval or conditional approval, meaning there are some functions that will not be developed by Jan. 1, but they expect to complete during next year.
HHS also outlined how states that are not creating their own exchanges can partner with HHS to implement specific FFE functions. HHS said it will consult with stakeholder organizations to implement FFEs (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 5/16).
Six States Receive Funds To Establish Exchanges
Also on Wednesday, HHS announced that six states will receive a total of $181 million in grants to establish their exchanges.
The states are:
- South Dakota;
- Tennessee; and
- Washington (Reuters, 5/16).
All of the states except Washington will receive "level one" grants for one year of funding to begin developing an exchange. Washington will receive a "level two" grant, which are awarded to states that already have shown progress in building their exchange (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 5/16).