A few more pieces of the health insurance exchange puzzle have fallen into place now that the deadline for states to decide whether they will run their own exchange has come and gone.
States were required to inform the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services of their decision by Friday, choosing between running their own exchange, deferring to the federal version or partnering to jointly operate the federal exchange.
As of Friday's deadline, 19 states said they will not operate their own exchange. Although some states still haven't made a formal decision, that means HHS will be operating an exchange in at least 30 states, Reuters reported.
Pennsylvania and Tennessee, for example, opted to allow HHS to run the federal exchange in both states. Since HHS took too long to provide exchange-related details, including "costs, impacts and flexibility," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said he couldn't make an informed decision, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Healthcare reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning," he said.
Conversely, Idaho and Nevada informed HHS that they will run their own exchanges. Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said it's in the state's best interest to operate its own exchange. "Our options have come down to this: Do nothing and be at the federal government's mercy in how that exchange is designed and run, or take a seat at the table and play the cards we've been dealt," he said. However, the final decision still rests upon state lawmakers, the Associated Press reported.
Arkansas has chosen the third option available to states--partnering with HHS to jointly operate the federal-run exchange, reported the Arkansas Times.
Then there's Utah, which is asking HHS to approve its existing exchange and declare that it meets the reform law's standards, even though the marketplace doesn't offer coverage for individuals and doesn't provide federal tax credits for low-income consumers, according to another Associated Press article.