With all state’s health insurance exchanges supposed to open this October, there’s speculation about which states will be late. And, that may depend on which route your state officials take to the opening. Different governors are:
1. Creating a health insurance exchange run by state officials
2. Partnering with the federal government to jointly run an exchange
3. Turning the whole deal over to the federal government.
First, by exchange, I mean the government-run marketplace where people who qualify for subsidized coverage will get their coverage. And they will be able to use their same insurance broker after the exchange is open. Those who qualify for help to afford health insurance will have to use the state exchange, but everyone else has additional options.
Some States Will Run Their Own Exchange
Only 18 states and the District of Columbia have decided to create their own health insurance exchange. These officials submitted a blueprint showing how they planned to run an exchange before December 14 last month.
Preliminary approval was given to Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington by Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary. Kentucky and New York were also given conditional approval. And, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont were already busy preparing to open an exchange in October.
Who Has a State-Federal Partnership?
As for states wanting to partner with the federal government, they have until February 15 to make arrangements. So far, seven states have partnership plans, including Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and West Virginia.
The remainder of the states have decided that they want no part of running an exchange, so the federal government will be running the exchanges in those states.
Will Exchanges Be Ready in Time?
About 26 million people across the country, based on the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate, will get coverage through the online health insurance marketplaces. And, starting in 2014, almost all U.S. citizens need health insurance to avoid a penalty.
It is extremely unlikely that all, or even most of the exchanges will be fully functional by October 1, the date open enrollment begins. We don’t yet know what that means for people who are expecting to qualify for a subsidy for their coverage.