Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius notified the governors of all 50 states by letter dated November 9, 2012, that HHS is extending the deadline for states to submit details of their plans to establish a health insurance exchange.  While states must still declare their intention to create a State-based health insurance exchange by November 16, 2012, they now have until December 14, 2012 to submit the State-based Blueprint application to HHS, which provides the particulars on how the states will implement their respective exchanges.  According to Secretary Sebelius, the extension for submission of the blueprint details is being provided in response to requests from states for additional time, and to enable HHS to continue to provide additional technical support to the states.  Approval (or conditional approval) of a State-based exchange for 2014 will occur by the statutory deadline of January 1, 2013.

Secretary Sebelius also reminded the governors that funding is now available for the establishment of an exchange “no matter where you are in the process of establishing an Exchange and no matter whether you plan to run your own Exchange, partner with another state, or work with the federal government.”  States have until the end of 2014 to apply for federal funds and have the “flexibility to use such funds both for building Exchanges and for associated start-up costs provided that a state’s Exchange is not yet self-sustaining.”

A copy of the letter is available here.