HHS Delays Another Key Requirement for Health Insurance Exchange
Health Insurance Exchange Component Delayed: According to Reuters, the implementation of crucial requirements to launch the Health Insurance Marketplace (the core piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) has been delayed. The delay has to do with the signing of the final agreements with insurance companies that will be selling plans on the federal health insurance exchanges. As it stands the federal government will be managing 34 exchanges and the remaining exchanges will be managed through either the states or in partnership with the federal government.
Last Tuesday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided notification to insurance companies that it would not sign final agreements with the plans between September 5 and 9. The date has now been pushed to mid-September. This raises concern for many as the exchange is set to begin enrollment on October 1; this comes on the heels of the Inspector General of the Health and Human services reporting concerns regarding the various systems being in place and ready the October 1, 2013.
According to Reuters Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the department remains “on track to open [the marketplaces]” on time on October 1.
Peters said only that the government was responding to “feedback” from the companies, “providing additional flexibility and time to handle technical requests.”
U.S. officials have said repeatedly that the marketplaces, which are the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law, would begin on time.