Qualified health plan (QHP) issuers will now have until June 21 to submit 2018 plan year applications, according to guidance released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Feb. 17. The change gives plans approximately seven additional weeks to submit plan and rate materials to CMS for approval for the 2018 plan year. Initial plan submissions were originally due to CMS by May 3, according to the final 2018 Letter to the Issuers in the federally facilitated marketplaces. The updated timeframe affords plans additional time to decide whether they will participate in the exchanges for the 2018 plan year.

CMS stated that it is altering the QHP approval process timeline in light of the "Market Stabilization" proposed rule that the agency released on Feb. 15. That proposed rule, if finalized, would make changes to certain regulations and policies affecting 2018 plan year coverage. For more information on the proposed rule, please see Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Releases "Market Stabilization" Proposed Rule; Comments Due March 7.