November 16, 2012
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday that the deadline for states to declare whether they will set up health insurance exchanges has been extended a month to December 14, 2012 at the request of numerous Republican governors. The exchanges are online marketplaces, due to open on October 1, 2013, where uninsured individuals will be able to shop for coverage and learn about their eligibility for financial assistance or Medicaid.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, on behalf of the Republican Governors Association, requested that states be given additional time to consider implementing health exchanges. Many states had delayed making a decision on the exchanges while attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act played out in Congress and the Supreme Court. Many Republican governors were hopeful that Governor Romney (R) would be elected president and would repeal the Affordable Care Act, thereby removing the need to establish health exchanges. President Obama's reelection, however, has left many governors scrambling, and they will now have an additional month to decide if and how they will implement state health exchanges.
In her letter to the Republican Governors Association, Sebelius stated that the extension will provide governors with "enough time to decide whether they want to establish an exchange, work in partnership with the federal government or have a federally facilitated exchange in their state." At least 26 states have declared they will not establish exchanges, meaning that the federal government will need to step in and do most of the work of creating the exchanges.
These exchanges will be crucial to people living with HIV/AIDS; 24% of people living with HIV/AIDS are uninsured or rely entirely on the Ryan White CARE Act to provide coverage for their medical and care expenses.