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GAO: Health Insurance Exchange Rollout Behind Schedule

The Government Accountability Office released two reports evaluating the rollout of the healthcare reform law's health insurance exchanges at state and federal levels, finding CMS is behind schedule for some of the 34 federally facilitated exchanges it must set up and open for business by Oct. 1.

The GAO said missing certain interim deadlines for the exchanges doesn't necessarily imply CMS will not be ready for the October go-live date, but noted that future missed deadlines could mean just that. Both HHS and the GAO acknowledged substantial progress has been made in building and preparing for the exchanges operation.


In addition to "the still-evolving scope of CMS's required activities in each state and the many activities yet to be performed," the GAO noted a two-month delay in funding to hire and train navigators who will assist individuals and at-risk populations in enrolling onto the exchanges.


The GAO found similar delays among states that will host their own small business exchanges, commonly referred to as SHOPs. "About 44 percent of the key activities CMS initially targeted for completion by March 31, 2013, were behind schedule," the report's authors wrote, although CMS has made adjustments to its suggested timelines and said it is confident all states will meet the Oct. 1 deadline.


"Much progress has been made, but much remains to be accomplished within a relatively short amount of time," the report's authors said.


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