The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has given states an extension on part of its health insurance exchange deadline.
Nov. 16 remains the deadline for states to declare whether they are going to run their own health insurance exchanges in 2014 or, at least initially, default to a federal one.
However, Secretary Kathleen Sibelius sent governors a letter Friday saying that the deadline to submit blueprints for state-based exchanges, previously also Nov. 16, has been extended to Dec. 14. She also said HHS intends to issue further guidance on exchanges "in the very near future."
"HHS will approve or conditionally approve the State-based Exchanges for 2014 by the statutory deadline of January 1, 2013," Sibelius wrote.
For state partnership exchanges, Sibelius said, application letters and blueprints will be accepted on a rolling basis until Feb. 15, 2013, "and states will be able to apply to run Exchanges in subsequent years."
Sibelius also affirmed the timeline for implementing exchanges, writing, "Consumers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will have access to insurance through these new marketplaces on January 1, 2014, as scheduled, with no delays."
Pennsylvania has not officially declared its choice, but it has previously been reported that officials expect to begin with a federal exchange because of time constraints.
In August, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine sent Sibelius a letter saying that the state would not be using any of the grant funding it has received for exchanges until it received answers to its outstanding questions on the subject.
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