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CMS Seeks Comments on PPACA Exchange Application Process

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is getting the federal clearance it needs to carry out some of the activities related to setting up the state-based health insurance exchange program.

CMS, an arm the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), talks about its plans for a request for comments on information collection proposals filed with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The Paperwork Reducation Act of 1995 requires CMS to get OMB approval before collecting some types of information.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) calls for federal and state agencies to set up state-based health insurance exchanges, or Web-based insurance supermarkets, that will sell coverage to individuals and small businesses.

States can choose whether to run their own exchanges, participate in multi-state exchange consortiums, or let the federal government provide exchange services for their residents.

One of the new types of information collection activities involves a PPACA health insurance exchange “cooperative agreement.”

CMS would use the collection to get reports from state governments that have received federal health insurance exchange establishment grants.

HHS expects to explain how the exchange establishment grants will work June 15, and states and the District of Columbia will have 10 opportunities to apply for funding, officials say.

The first round of applications will be due Aug. 1. The last will be due Nov. 3, 2014.

CMS expects 51 governments to spend about 50,000 hours drafting a total of 331 exchange grantee progress reports.

CMS also is seeking OMB approval for the “Blueprint for Approval of Affordable State-based and State Partnership Insurance Exchanges.” 

HHS will require a state that wants to set up its own exchange or work with the federal government to run an exchange to submit a blueprint for approval this fall, CMS officials say.

A state also must demonstrate that its exchange is ready for action by going through a virtual or on-site readiness review.

A participating state must submit a blueprint declaration letter online and on paper and a blueprint application online.

CMS expects 56 governments to spend about 12,000 hours developing 56 exchange blueprint applications.

The OMB review notice is set to appear in the Federal Register Friday. Members of the public will have 30 days to submit comments.


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