Utah, HHS in Talks to Split Health Insurance Exchange

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told conservative pundits at the American Enterprise Institute that he had proposed an agreement with HHS to continue to run the small business services of its existing online health insurance marketplace and have the federal government handle the operations for offering individuals qualifying coverage, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Utah has been unique among GOP states in that before the health law was passed, it had already operated an online health insurance marketplace, though it was geared mostly to small businesses and doesn't comply with all the regulations of the health law, such as screening for individual subsidies or requiring essential health benefits in plans featured on the exchange.

Late last year, the state requested HHS approve its existing exchange with a few planned upgrades to be run by Utah officials. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius responded that the office would be flexible in working with the state to come into compliance with the law, though fell short of full approval. The office extended the deadline for many states interested in running their own exchanges, which must go live next year, rather than having the federal government run all or part of the exchanges.

Gov. Herbert and a spokeswoman from HHS confirmed a conversation between the two leaders was "productive," in which the governor said he was "gratified and encouraged" by the secretary's expressed desire to "find a way to get to yes," according to the report.

More Articles on Health Insurance Exchanges:

New Hampshire Pushes Partnership Exchange as Deadline Looms
CMS Clarifies Individual Mandate's Penalties, Perks
Idaho Governor Petitions Public to Support State-Run Insurance Exchange

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