DES MOINES, IOWA, March 7, 2013-Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today notified Governor Terry E. Branstad that Iowa's plan for a State/Federal Partnership Exchange received conditional approval. That plan was submitted by Iowa on February 14 of this year.
"I applaud efforts by Iowa to build a new health insurance marketplace," Secretary Sebelius said. "Working together, we will be ready in seven months when residents of Iowa will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans."
The Partnership Blueprint Iowa submitted established a plan for a federally-run health insurance exchange, but retains important state functions of Plan Management by the Iowa Insurance Division and Medicaid Eligibility determinations by the Department of Human Services. The coverage Iowans obtain through the exchange will be effective as soon as January 1, 2014
The approval was given conditionally, contingent on Iowa's ability to perform the activities described in the Exchange Blueprint Application it submitted and the state's compliance with the regulations and progress milestones set by federal agencies.
The letter to Governor Branstad included a comment from Secretary Sebelius that she recognizes that Iowa is working under intense timelines in the next months as the implementation of the plan proceeds. "We and other agencies, especially the Department of Human Services, have been working on this for some time, in anticipation of this approval, so we are pleased to see it arrive," said Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart. "There is a lot to do, but the implementation process is receiving our full attention as we work to bring the plan in Iowa's Exchange Blueprint Application to reality."