In a letter to the nation’s governors on Nov. 9, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius eased a tight deadline for the states to declare whether and how they will build health insurance exchanges mandated and funded under the Affordable Care Act.

States can build an exchange on their own, partner with one or more other states, or have the federal government build and run it. “The deadline for a Declaration Letter for a State-based Exchange remains Friday, November 16, 2012,” Sebelius wrote in the letter. “However, today, in order to continue to provide you with appropriate technical support if you are pursuing a State-based Exchange, HHS is extending the deadline for State-based Exchange Blueprint application submissions to Friday, December 14, 2012. HHS will approve or conditionally approve the State-based Exchanges for 2014 by the statutory deadline of January 1, 2013.

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