Summary: In response to requests from some states, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a letter to governors November 9, 2012, extending the deadline for submitting applications for state-based exchanges until Friday, December 14, 2012. In addition, states pursuing a state partnership exchange for 2014 will have until February 15, 2013, to submit their declaration letter and application.
Affected Entities: Employers are not directly affected by this extension. The extension is applicable only to states seeking to establish a state-based exchange or a state partnership exchange.
Timing: Declaration letters from states pursing a state-based exchange must still be submitted by November 16, 2012, the original deadline. However, the deadline for applications has been extended to December 14, 2012, which would give states more time to submit a complete application. States seeking to implement a state partnership exchange get a longer extension. They must submit declaration letters and applications by February 15, 2013.
Implications: States pursuing state-based exchanges will have an extra month to prepare more comprehensive, complete applications. HHS noted that it will approve or conditionally approve the state-based exchanges for 2014 by the statutory deadline of January 1, 2013. At least 13 states and the District of Columbia have informed HHS of their plan to pursue a state-based exchange. For states pursuing a state partnership exchange, HHS will accept declaration letters and applications, and make approval determinations on a rolling basis. The final deadline for both the declaration letter and application for state partnership exchanges that would be effective for 2014 has been extended to Friday, February 15, 2013. This extension may give some states that waited for the election outcome, or some states with newly elected governors, the opportunity to seek a state partnership exchange for 2014. These deadlines apply to state-based or state partnership exchanges that would become effective in 2014. States that do not choose to set up an exchange (state-based or a partnership with the federal government) in 2014 will be able to apply to run an exchange in subsequent years.