Tavenner Unveils CMS' Implementation Timeline for Health Exchanges

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Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner on Tuesday laid out the timeline for how CMS will implement health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, Modern Healthcare reports. The exchanges are set to open enrollment in October and begin operations in 2014.

Speaking at the Federation of American Hospitals' annual conference, Tavenner said insurers will begin submitting plan data to CMS between now and April to be evaluated. Meanwhile, the agency plans to begin education campaigns for the public in July (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 3/5).

Tavenner said CMS is waiting until just three months before enrollment begins because research has indicated that is the most effective time to begin notifying U.S. residents (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 3/5). "If we get too much of a head start with beneficiaries about what they can expect in 2014, … but say that it's not available to you for six months or seven months, then folks tend to lose interest," she said (Haberkorn, Politico, 3/6).

Tavenner also noted that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how many uninsured U.S. residents will sign up for coverage (CQ HealthBeat, 3/5). Tavenner said, "[W]e are going to need your help." She said many hospitals already have implemented Medicaid liaisons to help patients sign up for the program, but CMS also will create a Web portal and a toll-free telephone number for individuals to get help from counselors (Modern Healthcare, 3/5).

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