Despite reluctance, states acknowledge looming deadline for insurance exchanges

Deltek Analyst Amanda White reports.

The January 1, 2014 federal deadline for states to have health insurance exchanges up and running is fast approaching, and as summer comes to a close, states are realizing just how fast time is flying.

Surprisingly, several states have yet to pass legislation to set up the infrastructure, and in some cases, have returned federal funding. However, this has not stopped states like Kansas from moving forward. The state gave back $31.5 million in federal funding from the Early Innovator Grant after Governor Sam Brownback’s administration deemed it to have “too many strings attached.” Nonetheless, the state still plans to continue in the same direction with the development of an optimal solution for the insurance exchange. Kansas plans to use 90/10 funding and will be applying for a Level 1 Establishment Grant. The state recently released a draft timeline for the exchange and anticipates a solicitation release midway through FY 2012 if a competitive process is decided upon. Some of the main goals in creating an exchange include providing a system with best possible outcomes for Kansas consumers, balancing administrative effectiveness, ensuring continuity of care, and providing user-friendly access to the exchanges.

Oklahoma also gave back federal funding. The state returned $54 million from the Early Innovator Grant after refusing to comply with the health care bill’s mandates. A joint committee has been created to recommend how the state should address the federal health care law. The first meeting will take place today, September 14, in the House chamber at the Oklahoma State Capitol; it is expected to feature key members of the Health Insurance Exchange Steering Committee from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Early this year, the state introduced Legislation SB971, which would have established the “Oklahoma Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network,” but the bill failed to make the legislative session.

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