Alabama has taken its $1 million in federal health insurance exchange funding and is holding meetings. Wisconsin has received about $39 million and is about to recruit technology vendors.
Other states are at different stages of health insurance exchange development.
Analysts at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., have described the stage of exchange development in each state in a new collection of state exchange program profiles.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) calls for each state to have an exchange, or collection of one or more exchanges, that will give individuals and small groups easy access to high-quality health plans that meet federal quality standards.
Individuals are supposed to get new federal income tax subsidies that they can use to buy coverage through the exchanges starting in 2014.
Massachusetts already has an exchange that offers a limited number of plans, and Utah has an exchange that is open to any qualified plan that wants to participate.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has said it will be as flexible about exchanges as the law allows.
A state can operate its own exchange, join a multi-state consortium or let the federal government offer exchange services to its residents.
A state can put a government agency in charge of the exchange program or turn it over to an independent group.