OD participation critical in 18 states set to establish exchanges

January 31, 2013

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia filed applications with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to establish their own state-run health insurance exchanges in 2014, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The AOA Washington office urges practicing optometrists to be aware of the development plans for health insurance exchanges in their states. In states that plan to run their own exchanges or enter into partnerships with the HHS, the AOA Washington office urges state optometric associations to seek representation for optometrists on the exchanges’ governing boards and have local optometrists get directly involved in related advisory committees. The exchanges are a key component in the national health care system reforms authorized under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, according to the AOA Washington office.

As of Jan. 7, the HHS had already issued conditional approval for state-based exchanges in California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

At press time, the department was still processing an application from Mississippi for a state-based exchange. The department had conditionally approved state partnership exchanges in Arkansas and Delaware.

For additional information on health insurance exchanges and other aspects of health care reform, visit www.aoa.org/x16106.xml.

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