Utah's Avenue H Gets Conditional Approval from Feds

Jan 3, 2013

The federal government has conditionally approved Utah’s health insurance exchange known as Avenue H.  But the feds say more work needs to be done for the state-based exchange to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act. 

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius praised Utah for making "significant progress" with its online insurance marketplace.  She says she’s confident Avenue H will be federally compliant by the deadline of October this year.  In a conference call, federal health administrator Gary Cohen essentially put the ball in Utah’s court.

“It’s up to Utah to determine what changes it’s going to make in the exchange,” said Cohen, “What we’ve said is that in order to be certified under the Affordable Care Act, the exchange needs to comply with the statute and with our regulations.”

In order to be compliant, Cohen said Utah’s insurance marketplace needs to expand from serving small businesses to individuals, and needs to include a navigation tool for consumers.  In a statement, The Utah Governor’s office says it will review the HHS announcement and determine if the conditions are acceptable.  19 states in addition to Washington DC have received conditional approval for their exchanges.