State of the States: Health Insurance Exchanges

July 13, 2012

This was an interesting week for exchange activity, with more states announcing their exchange plans and RFP activity at both the state and federal levels.

First, we’ve heard that HHS received Establishment Grant applications from nine states for its June 29 deadline. HHS has yet to release the names of state applicants, but it’s known that California, Maryland, New York, Nevada and Vermont submitted applications.

Also this week, HHS published letters from twelve governors stating their intention to create state-based health insurance exchanges. The letters, which are part of a two-step “Blueprint” that all states must submit to HHS by November 16, briefly summarize the intent of those governors to move forward with creating an exchange. A full list of states, and the submitted letters, can be found on HHS’s website. Additionally, while it is not listed on HHS’s website, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D) sent a letter to HHS on Tuesday affirming his intention to have Kentucky create an exchange.

While some governors have been expressing their intention to create an exchange, others have been declaring their opposition to creating a state-based exchange. At last count, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Texas have all publicly announced they will not create an exchange. Expect this list to grow in coming weeks as additional governors announce their decision.

On the procurement front, this was a busy week for contractors interested in responding to Kentucky’s RFP for an exchange IT system -- July 12 was the last day to reply. The RFP does not give any hints as to when the state expects to award the contract.

Also, reports this week indicate there was a report this week that CMS released an RFP to preselected firms for education and outreach for the federally facilitated exchange. The selected firm will be responsible for developing plans to reach consumers, Medicaid eligibles and small businesses. Initial reports indicate that the contract’s value and scope is in flux since CMS is uncertain “how many states [it] may be responsible for outreach and education as part of the FEE.” The RFP goes on to state that all plans must be scalable to implement across a few states or to all 50 states. The deadline for responding to the RFP is July 20.

Finally, if it’s not already on your calendar, consider tuning in to a webinar by the Arkansas Insurance Department’s Health Benefits Exchange Partnership Division on July 18. The division will hold a webinar to update participants on Arkansas’s planning for the creation of a State Partnership Exchange. More information can be found here.

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