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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Will State Insurance Exchanges be ready for 2014?

According to the White House, 28 states are “on their way” to establishing new marketplaces, called health insurance exchanges, where consumers can begin to shop for health insurance starting January 1st, 2014.

Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, remarked, “States are taking strong steps to implement health reform. The Obama Administration is working in partnership with State leaders across the country... we will ensure Americans in every State have access to an Exchange and the same kinds of insurance choices as Members of Congress.”2014 Reform

But does that mean 22 states will not be ready in time? Administration officials said ““it would be premature at this point” to draw that conclusion.

While the government is reviewing another round of grant proposals to assist states, some states, including Wisconsin and Kansas, have said they plan to give the grant back. Last week, South Dakota’s governor said there is too much uncertainty for the state to move ahead with an exchange until after it learns the results of the Supreme Court case challenging the law, and the outcome of the November Presidential election.

Will that be too late?

“If states decide after the Supreme Court decision, we will work with them to get them as far down the path as possible,” said the official, noting that a state initially could do a partnership with the federal government, if necessary, then get certified to run its exchange solo after that. Residents in states that can’t — or won’t — run their own exchanges will be directed to a federally facilitated fallback exchange.

Still, some policy experts have questioned whether the federal government will have its backup system up and running by the time enrollment is set to open in the fall of 2013. “We are making substantial progress of development of federal exchanges,” the official said, “including signing contracts with private sector vendors to create the systems.”

Do you think the state exchanges will be ready?

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