The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services approved three more state health insurance exchanges last week.
New York, Kentucky and Washington, D.C., received conditional approval to operate their state-based health insurance exchanges, reported Insurance & Financial Advisor. Only a few days earlier, HHS approved six other states' exchanges, giving eight states, plus the District of Columbia, a preliminary green light to move forward with their exchange implementation.
"I applaud these states' commitment in achieving this milestone and moving forward to build a marketplace," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "Each of these states has made significant progress, and in ten months will be ready for open enrollment where individuals will be able to purchase private health insurance plans."
The HHS approval is conditional because none of the states have finished meeting all the exchange-related requirements, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
In New York, the approval was somewhat expected and the state's exchange already is moving forward with next steps. For example, the state will begin inviting insurers to apply to participate in the exchange next month. Then it will start a public awareness campaign in June, take customer service live in July and provide in-person assistance to help consumers apply for coverage in September, reported the Star Gazette.
"It's been a major undertaking by staff, with input from stakeholders and our partners in the federal government," Jim Introne, deputy secretary for health, said at a cabinet meeting in Albany Tuesday. "We're on track to have a very effective exchange that meets the needs of New Yorkers."