The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has officially invited health insurers and dental insurers to apply for slots on the 2016 HHS exchange system plan menus.

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight — the arm of HHS in charge of day-to-day exchange system operations — put the call for qualified health plan and stand-alone dental plan applications in a formal letter to issuers.

The letter applies only to slots at the HHS-run exchanges, not the state-run exchanges. The QHP and dental plan approval timeline shows that:

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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.