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Obama administration rolls out rule for health exchanges

The proposed rule includes provisions that give states leeway on how to create these new insurance marketplaces.   

The New York Times: Obama Administration Rolls Out Standards For Health Insurance Marketplaces
In a big step to carry out the new health care law, the Obama administration unveiled standards on Monday for insurance marketplaces that will allow individuals, families and small businesses in every state to shop for insurance, compare prices and benefits and buy coverage (Pear, 7/11).

The Washington Post: 'Flexibility' May Help States Meet Key Part Of Health Care Law
Faced with the possibility that many states may not be ready to meet a crucial requirement of the federal health care law passed last year, the Obama administration has proposed rules redefining what "ready" means. To boot, officials did just that in a setting designed to win over that most politically sought-after of groups: small-business owners (Aizenman, 7/11).

Los Angeles Times: Health Officials Ease Requirements For States' Insurance Exchanges
The Obama administration moved Monday to ease some requirements on states to help them set up new insurance exchanges in 2014, a key feature of the health care law the president signed last year. The state-based exchanges are intended to make buying health insurance comparable to shopping the Internet for an airline ticket or a hotel room (Levey, 7/12).

The Wall Street Journal: States Get Leeway On Shape Of New Insurance Exchanges
Proposed rules released Monday give states wide latitude on how to create the new insurance marketplaces scheduled to open in 2014 under the federal health care law. The marketplaces, known as exchanges, are expected to allow individuals and small businesses to purchase coverage much the way consumers can now shop for airfares or hotels online. States are supposed to set up exchanges that meet federal guidelines, or their residents will be offered a national version (Mathews, 7/12).

Kaiser Health News: After Much Scrutiny, HHS Releases Health Insurance Exchange Rules
Kaiser Health News staff writers Julie Appleby and Christopher Weaver report: "State flexibility takes center stage in proposed federal rules governing marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can shop for health insurance starting in 2014. The long-anticipated rules released Monday are less prescriptive than some consumer advocates desired, but grant states' requests that they be given broad leeway to design and regulate the marketplaces, called exchanges" (Appleby and Weaver, 7/11). KHN also provides an updated FAQ: A Guide To Health Insurance Exchanges (Appleby, 7/10) and at-the-scene observations in a "reporter's notebook" blog post (Galewitz, 7/11).

PBS Newshour: New Rules Unveiled For Health Care Exchanges
Saying "flexibility is the name of the game," Department of Health and Human Services officials unveiled a broad framework for states to follow as they build their health insurance exchanges under the health reform law. The new regulations give states wide latitude in setting up their exchanges and more time to plan and execute them (Bowser and Kane, 7/11). 

Reuters: US Offers States New Insurance Exchanges Timetable
The Obama administration offered U.S. states more flexibility in setting up new health insurance exchanges, an apparent effort to bring local authorities on board with a key part of a health care overhaul. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed on Monday a sliding deadline for states to set up the exchanges, relaxing a previously strict 2013 date to commit to a plan and be ready start by 2014. States, insurers, and other key players like hospital systems have sought greater clarity on how these insurance marketplaces will work since President Barack Obama's landmark health care became law last year (Selyukh and Yukhananov, 7/11).

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Politico Pro: Rule Shows HHS Avoiding Federal Exchange
A proposal in the new exchange rule to let the states and HHS share some duties — along with other measures like "conditional approval" for states not quite ready for certification in 2013 — shows that HHS is doing everything possible to avoid setting up a federal exchange, say consumer advocates and policy experts reading between the lines of the regulations released Monday (Feder, 7/11).

National Journal: Sebelius Introduces Health Exchange Rules
The draft proposals set standards for establishing exchanges and include what HHS is calling a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). They offer states guidance on what the basic functions of an exchange should be, how to certify health plans for participation, and how to control premiums (Fox, 7/11). 

The Hill: HHS Plays Up Flexibility In Rules For New Insurance Exchanges
Obama administration officials emphasized flexibility for the states as they rolled out a highly anticipated regulation on insurance exchanges Monday. The proposed rule leaves most key decisions up to the states, though it sets some minimum standards for every exchange — including limits on the role of insurance companies and agents (Baker, 7/11).

Dallas Morning News: New Rules To Force Health Insurer Competition On Price
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday proposed a framework to help states create websites where individuals and businesses can purchase insurance. These websites will be backed by state governmental agencies or nonprofit entities called health insurance exchanges (Roberson, 7/11).

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