WASHINGTON BUREAU — Joel Ario, director of the Office of Insurance Exchanges at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), seems to be leaving that post.
Steve Larsen, the director of the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at HHS, will work with Ario’s deputy, Tim Hill, to manage the exchange development effort, according to a copy of what appears to be an internal memo sent by Larsen to CCIIO employees.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires state and federal agencies to set up the exchanges by 2014. The exchanges are supposed to help individuals and small employers use new tax credit programs created by PPACA to buy health coverage.
Ario will be moving back to Hershey, Pa., Aug. 26 “to be with his family,” Larsen says in the memo.
Although Ario will be leaving Washington in August, he will continue to lead the exchange team until Sept. 23, Ario says.
“Tim and I will work together to recruit a state liaison to ensure that states continue to have a direct point of contact as we work together to successfully implement exchanges,” Larsen says.
Alabama state Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery, Ala., has expressed concern about Ario’s departure, saying it “causes the states again to have to pause at a time when we’re working feverishly … to understand the mandates under the PPACA.”