Michigan Among Three States Added to Health Partnership

Michigan, New Hampshire and West Virginia agreed to join with the U.S. federal government to build exchanges where residents can buy subsidized health insurance, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The additions bring the total to seven governors who will rely on the federal partnerships in which the Obama administration does most of the work to get the online marketplaces off the ground by October. North Carolina, which previously said it would partner, dropped out. Sixteen other states are building exchanges on their own, using federal money.

The exchanges, the core part of the 2010 U.S. health-care overhaul, must be ready to start enrolling people by Oct. 1 for plans that would take effect Jan. 1. Twenty-six states, most led by Republican governors, have opted out, forcing the federal government to fill the gap. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, chose the partnership because it can be “a useful gateway” for residents to obtain affordable health coverage.

“A state-based exchange that provides the highest level of customer service and is tailored to meet Michigan’s needs is the optimal solution for our state,” Snyder said in a letter to the government health agency.

Only six states led by Republican governors have agreed to help build any part of the exchanges. Along with Michigan and Utah, they are Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho and Iowa. Utah wants to run its own exchange for small businesses and let the federal government build a marketplace for individuals.

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