Governor Gary Herbert plans to send a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services Friday declaring the state’s intentions on its health insurance exchange. Up until now, the Governor’s Office has not said whether the state will update its existing exchange, Avenue H, to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act - or let the feds create their own exchange in the state. But Utah’s Health Reform Implementation Coordinator Norman Thurston says the letter doesn’t commit the state to anything.
“We haven’t made a final decision. And the way I understand the new guidance, even the letter doesn’t bind us to that decision. So if the Governor sent a letter that says we intend to develop a state-based exchange, that’s not binding the state in any way,” he says.
The Governor’s Chief of Staff Allyson Isom says she received word late Thursday afternoon that HHS has extended today’s deadline for states to declare their intentions to December 14th, but the Governor’s Office plans to send the letter nevertheless. The Office was finishing the letter last night, and Isom did not say what it contained.