The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) today named Connecticut as one of six states to receive approval of its detailed plan to implement a state-based Health Insurance Exchange.
Approval of the 800-page plan is another step taken by the state as a national leader in implementing an exchange, which by next year will offer residents and businesses a wide range of health insurance plans under the federal Affordable Care Act.
"This approval shows that we are continuing to make rapid, concrete progress in bringing about much needed improvements for consumers in our state's health insurance market," said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Chair of the Exchange's Board of Directors. "While the majority of states are still grappling with how to move forward with health reform, all Connecticut residents should be encouraged by the progress we have made on this hugely important issue."
The state has previously received $116 million in federal funds to design and build the Exchange, and has secured key information-technology, marketing and operational partnerships to develop the overall system
"While other states waited for events such as the Supreme Court ruling or the election to spur action, Connecticut did the right thing and aggressively pushed forward with launching a state based Exchange for its residents," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who last year signed legislation creating the state's Exchange. "To do anything less would have been a disservice to those in our state who don't have insurance, or struggle to afford the coverage they have."
Blueprints submitted by states were reviewed by HHS as well as White House staff, due to the complexity of Exchange implementation and the strong collaboration required between states and the federal government. As one of only six states receiving this certification - including Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Colorado - the approval places Connecticut in a small group of states taking a leadership role in Exchange implementation nationally.
"We couldn't be happier with receiving the HHS approval," said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Exchange. "But with only nine months left until open enrollment in 2013, there is little time for celebrating. We look forward to engaging with all of our stakeholders and partners to ensure we meet our deadlines, and deliver a vibrant, effective Exchange for the state."