HHS approves eight state exchanges

Eight more states are on track to implement health reform.

The Health and Human Services Department said Thursday that California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Utah earned conditional approval to operate state-based exchanges, while Arkansas will run a partnership exchange.

The announcement brings the total number of states approved to operate their marketplaces to 20, with 18 running state-based exchanges and two planning to partner with the federal government.

The department Thursday also issued more guidance to states considering a partnership exchange, in which the marketplace will be operated jointly by state and federal officials. The remaining states that haven’t been approved for exchanges have until Feb. 15 to apply for a state partnership exchange.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised the exchanges, as well as the progress made by many of the states to implement them.

“States across the country are working to implement the health care law and build a marketplace that works for their residents,” she said. “In 10 months, consumers in all 50 states will have access to a new marketplace where they will be able to easily purchase affordable, high quality health insurance plans, and today’s guidance will provide the information states need to guide their continued work.”

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