HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a letter to governors once again extending the deadline for states to decide whether to enact their own health insurance exchanges. Earlier this week we reported that HHS was allowing states until December 14th in which to submit their blueprint applications, but that letters of intent were still due on Friday, November 16th. On the eve of the deadline, HHS announced that states will now have until Friday, December 14th in which to submit both their letter of intent and blueprint application.
Unless Congress acts to amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance exchanges – whether offered by the states, through a federal-state partnership, or offered by the federal government – will go live January 1, 2014. Enrollment in the exchanges is set to begin in October 2013 – eleven months from now. With some key regulations still yet to be finalized, questions remain whether there is enough time to get the exchanges off the ground by the January 1, 2014 deadline.