States face deadline TODAY on healthcare exchanges, Feb 15, 2013

States have to decide whether they will create health insurance markets for consumers.

By Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY | FEBRUARY 15, 2013 |

WASHINGTON — As states work to decide by Friday whether they plan to create their own or partner with the federal government to run health exchanges, there has been one last-minute surprise and one skin-of-the teeth agreement.

New Hampshire, after a Republican-led state Legislature made it illegal to create its own exchange, announced this week it would partner with the federal government to run a health marketplace. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan’s legal counsel told an oversight committee that the governor feared losing control of how the state’s exchange would work.

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And Wednesday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said his state was “conditionally approved” for a partnership with the federal government that had already been in the works.

“Access to decent health care is a fundamental right,” Quinn said. “We are going to be working very hard between now and October 1st to educate the people of our state about the health care coverage options they will have through the marketplace, thanks to President Obama’s leadership.”

So far, the government has conditionally approved 20 states and the District of Columbia to set up their own exchange or partner with the federal government in an exchange. The exchanges, or marketplaces, are websites that will allow people to shop for policies and compare benefits and prices of all the insurance plans available in their states. The marketplaces need to be up and running by October so people can enroll in time for the plans to start in January.


Source: USA Today

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