Colorado’s health care exchange got an initial thumbs-up from the federal government Monday.
The state exchange system will be an online portal for individuals and businesses to shop for health insurance, described by designers as a “health care marketplace.”
Colorado is one of six states that was given “conditional approval” by the federal Department of Health and Human Services for their self-designed exchanges. The others are Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, Massachusetts, and Oregon.
The six states have made significant progress in setting up exchanges, and have done well in adapting to their specific states’ needs, said Amanda Cowley, director of the State Exchanges Group at DHHS.
Colorado’s exchange will be run by a state-established nonprofit.
“That’s different than the approach you see someone like Connecticut taking, for example,” said Cowley.
“Colorado is also building its exchange … in a way that’s very focused on the small business community and supporting the small business community.”
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, mandates that all 50 states have a health care exchanges.
If states don’t establish one on their own, they’ll have to accept one designed by the federal government. States have until Dec. 14 to declare that they’re setting up an exchange, in a letter to the federal government.
Colorado’s health care exchange is scheduled to be up and running by Oct. 1.