November 13, 2012 — HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a letter to governors on Friday announced that states will have additional time to submit plans for health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), the New York Times reports.
States still must meet the Nov. 16 deadline to declare whether they plan to run their own exchange, but they now have until Dec. 14 to submit the detailed applications -- or blueprints -- required by federal officials.
Meanwhile, states that intend to partner with the federal government now have until Feb. 15, 2013, to submit their declaration letter and blueprint. The extended deadline will not affect the anticipated launch of the exchanges in January 2014 (Pear, New York Times, 11/9). The extended deadline is intended to give states the "appropriate technical support" necessary to pursue their own exchanges, according to Modern Healthcare (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 11/9).
Sebelius wrote that the agency had "heard from many states that additional time would allow [them] to submit a more comprehensive, complete Blueprint application" for their exchanges. She added that HHS is "committed to providing [states] with the flexibility, resources and technical assistance necessary to help [them] achieve successful implementation of [the] state's Exchange" (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 11/9).
The move is seen as a concession to dozens of states that delayed ACA compliance until after the presidential election, according to Reuters. Since Tuesday's election, seven states -- including Florida, Kansas, Texas and Virginia -- have said they will not run their own exchanges, and conservatives are mobilizing a campaign to encourage other states to opt out (Morgan/Selyukh, Reuters, 11/9).