States Prepare for the Health Insurance Marketplace

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Posted February 19, 2013

When key parts of the health care law take effect in 2014, there will be a new way for individuals, families, and small business owners to get health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the Affordable Insurance Exchange. Whether you’re uninsured or just want to explore new options, the Marketplace will offer you apples-to-apples comparisons of costs and coverage between health insurance plans.  You can compare all your insurance options based on price, benefits, quality, and other features that may be important to you, in plain language that makes sense.

Starting in October 2013, customers in every state will be able to shop in their Marketplace for coverage that would begin in January 2014.  Each state has the opportunity to choose to create its own State-based Marketplace, work in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or have a Marketplace operated by HHS.  To date, 20 states and the District of Columbia (DC) have been conditionally approved to run either a State-based or Partnership Marketplace in 2014, and this number will grow by March 1. 

This past Friday, February 15, also marked a milestone for this progress – it was the deadline to submit an application to run a State-partnership Marketplace in 2014. We received new applications from Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and West Virginia, bringing the total number of states that have applied to play a role in operating their Marketplace to 24 and DC.  In addition, several other states have suggested their own approaches to contributing toward plan management in their Marketplace in 2014. 

No matter where a qualified consumer lives, he or she will have access to coverage through a Marketplace.  And 2014 is the beginning, not the end.  States will have the option to apply to run their own Marketplace in future years. 

States will continue to be partners in implementing the health care law, and we are committed to providing them with the flexibility, resources, and time they need to deliver the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to the American people.  For example, 37 states plus the District of Columbia have received establishment grant awards to help them modernize and develop the IT and business systems needed for their Marketplace.  For more information about Marketplace Establishment Grants visit:

To see a complete list of states that have been conditionally approved to run either a State-based or Partnership Marketplace, visit:

And to learn more about the Marketplace: