4 more states will partner with HHS to run health exchanges

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has granted conditional approval to four more states to set up a health insurance exchange.

Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and West Virginia all received the go-ahead from HHS to establish a so-called State Partnership Marketplace in which the states will jointly operate the exchanges with HHS, reported The Hill's Healthwatch.

In most cases, HHS will assume more responsibility with states handling customer service and health plan approvals, the Associated Press reported.

"HHS will continue to work collaboratively with all states to build the Marketplace," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday in a statement. "Working together, we will be ready in seven months when consumers will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans."

But receiving HHS approval is no guarantee that a state will actually implement a state-run marketplace. In Michigan, for example, many state senators oppose accepting federal money to operate an exchange and may try to block the state from taking on any exchange-related responsibility, reported the Detroit Free Press.

To learn more:
- here's the HHS statement
- read the Associated Press article
- see The Hill's Healthwatch article
- check out the Detroit Free Press article