Reporters should ask carriers, not federal officials, for information about early federal exchange plan premium payments.

Josh Earnest, the White House principal deputy press secretary, gave that advice Wednesday during a press briefing on Air Force One, according to a transcript provided by the White House.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, runs or helps run the new public health insurance exchange programs in 34 states.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.