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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must make a determination on or before January 1, 2013, that a state will in fact have an exchange in operation by 2014 and that the exchange meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and HHS guidance. In a letter dated November 15, 2012, Secretary Sebelius indicated that a state may submit both a letter of intent and an application to operate its own exchange by December 14, 2012. If a state elects not to operate an exchange, or if the HHS determines that the state will not be able to have an exchange operational by 2014 that meets the law’s requirements, the ACA gives the HHS the authority to establish and operate such exchange within the state.
The Federal government awarded Arkansas two grants to build its Affordable Insurance Exchange:
Because of legislative opposition to a state run health insurance exchange, Arkansas has implemented planning for a Federal Partnership Model exchange where the state and federal government work to together to administer the exchange.