HHS Secretary Sebelius: Exchanges 'on track' to meet Oct. 1 deadline

The 33 health insurance exchanges that will be run by the federal government will be up and ready by on time, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before a House panel.

Sebelius is so confident that her agency will meet the Oct. 1 deadline for open enrollment that she said HHS isn't even considering any contingency plans, reported The Hill's Healthwatch.

"We are determined and on track to meet the Oct. 1 deadline," Sebelius told the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday. "We are confident we will launch the health insurance exchanges," she added, according to a LifeHealthPro article.

Although most states have refused to create or operate their own exchange, Sebelius said her agency is "actually in conversations with lots of states" willing to take over their own exchanges after HHS builds them, Healthwatch noted.

Sebelius also assured House lawmakers that the data IT hub, which will run the exchanges and determine whether consumers are eligible for certain plans, is "basically built and paid for," CQ Roll Call reported.

In separate but related news, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin "a major launch effort that will engage all media channels" after the open enrollment period begins this October, Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote in a memo to Senate Finance Committee members.

To learn more:
- read The Hill's Healthwatch article
- see the LifeHealthPro article
- check out the CQ Roll Call article
- here's the CMS memo