State Actions to Implement the Health Benefit

State Actions to Address Health Insurance Exchanges


April Update - "Open Enrollment" Ends; Extensions,  Small Business and Qualified Events Allow Additional Sign-ups

Health Insurance Exchanges or Marketplaces are, for states, entities launched in 2013 that function as a marketplace for buyers of health insurance, giving them choices for health coverage. They offer a variety of certified or "qualified health plans" and provide information and educational services to help consumers understand their options. The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives states the option to establish one or more state or regional exchanges, partner with the federal government to run the exchange, or to combine with other state exchanges.

As of Oct. 1, 2013, there has been a health insurance exchange open in every state, offering health insurance coverage that began January 2014. If a state chose not to create an exchange, the federal government set up the exchange in the state, leaving the state with an option to transition to a state or partner exchange if it decides to do so after 2014. Exchanges also offer multi-state health insurance plans regulated federally but offered within states, providing other choices to consumers.

  • Enrollment Deadlines: Regular open enrollment for individuals to purchase health insurance ended Mar. 31, 2014. However, on March 26, HHS officials issued new guidelines for those that attempted to buy health insurance, but miss the March 31 deadline.  Many can request an extension and still apply, as described in Guidance for Issuers on "People In Line” and for "Complex Cases." A shorter consumer fact sheet also is available, effective 3/26/2014. This process may allow them to complete the enrollment process into mid-April. There also are several standard exceptions and "life events" that allow individuals to make Marketplace health insurance purchases between April and November.
  • Marketplace Open Enrollment Process by the Numbers* - According to the Fact Sheet dated 4/17/2014, released by the White House:
    • 8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. For states that have Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces, 35 percent of those who signed up are under 35 years old and 28 percent are between 18 and 34 years old.  These numbers happen to be "virtually the same youth percentage that signed up in Massachusetts" in 2007, their first year of state health reform run by the Massachusetts Connector.
    • 3 million more people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as of February, compared to before the Marketplaces opened. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment continues year-round.
    • 5 million people are enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards outside the Marketplace, according to a CBO estimate. When insurers set premiums for next year, they are required to look at everyone who enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards, both on and off the Marketplace.
    • 3 million young adults gained coverage basd on the Affordable Care Act by being able to stay on their parents' health plan, with enrollment thtat began in October 2010.
    • The latest state enrollment figuresRead or download HHS report here. For State-by-state tables download here.(22 pages, PDF).  Medicaid through Exchanges: Enrollment report - released Apr. 4, 2014 
  • For more recent developments see state news (updated 4/4/2014) and other state summaries and news below the map.

Health coverage began Jan. 1, 2014. Those who enroll in health coverage through Marketplaces or Exchanges now receive health services and treatment, starting the first of each month. Health insurance coverage now includes pre-existing conditions, no-charge preventive visits and subsidized premiums for those with annual incomes less than 400 percent of FPL (up to $94,000 for a family of four). 


New 50-State Table of State and Federal Actions to Implement Exchanges or Marketplaces
View, print or download your state(s) in PDF Format (Updated 3/26/2014; total = 58 pages) Includes all information in the map.

Use this interactive map to view individual state snapshot information. Hover on state for quick facts; Click on state for details on legislation and 2013-14 implementation notes.

State-Run Exchange

State/Federal Partnership

Purple box State-Run SHOP (Small Business) Exchange; Federally-run Marketplace for Individuals (MS, NM, UT) Purple box

Federally Facilitated Marketplace (Exchange)


Overview of State Actions

States that created or want to create and run their own exchange had to submit blueprints and receive approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By a December 2012 federal deadline, 18 states plus the District of Columbia had submitted blueprints.  18 states and D.C. later received approval from HHS for their exchange.

  • As of December 2013, 14 states and the District of Columbia had enacted legislation to establish or authorize state-based health insurance exchanges. A few others were initiated by governors' executive orders. Massachusetts (2006) and Utah (2009) passed exchange laws prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010. With Exchanges in operation, 14 states and D.C now fully operate their own state-run enrollment websites, while 36 others rely on the federal, including seven federal-state "partnership" exchanges..
  • Utah was first to request and be approved to run the SHOP exchange while the federal government runs the individual exchange. The Utah structure is now part of the HHS exchange final rules as another option to states.
  • Mississippi's elected insurance commissioner applied for a state exchange in 2012, but did not receive HHS approval. On Oct. 1, 2013, however, Mississippi received conditional federal approval to run an online SHOP marketplace where businesses with 50 or fewer employees can buy health insurance, launched January 2014.
  • Idaho and New Mexico requested that the federally facilitated exchange provide some initial assistance to their exchange operation and enrollment while they continue building a fully state run exchange. New Mexico will run the SHOP exchange first, with their own individual marketplace scheduled to launch October 2014.
  • Seven states pursued a state/federal partnership where they run the consumer assistance and/or plan management function of the exchange. All such states are required to submit a blueprint and receive approval of partnership exchanges.
  • Arkansas and Illinois have indicated their intention to fully run their exchange in 2015 and beyond.

Every other state has defaulted to the federally facilitated exchange (marketplace). Some states initially in the default federal exchange option decided to partner with the federal government by the deadline in February 2013. Every state in this federally facilitated category and the partnership category have the option of eventually running a fully state-based exchange.

Read More on Recent Developments:

  • NCSL 50-state snapshot table (below)
  • Mar. 1, 2014 enrollment total reaches 4,242,325 individuals who have selected a marketplace plan.  On March 11, an updated report provided summary and state level counts and statistics. It shows another 4.4 million people were determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.  Read or download here.  For State-by-state tables download here.
  • Marketplace open enrollment for individuals ends March 31. Medicaid and SHOP (small business) applicants usually do not have a enrollment deadline this year.
  • Employers with under 100 workers given until 2016 to offer coverage. On Feb. 10, 2014, the Treasury Department extended by one year the requirement that employers with between 50-99 workers meet the mandate to offer health insurance, a category that includes about seven percent of the private workforce. The new rules also will require 70 percent of workers to be covered in that first year. Read the Treasury fact sheet here [2 pp.] and final rule here [227 pp.].  
    How the policy affects employers:
    • Small Businesses with fewer than 50 employees: (about 96% of all employers): Under the Affordable Care Act, companies that have fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide coverage or fill out any forms in 2015, or in any year, under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Larger employers with 100 or more employees (about 2% of employers): The overwhelming majority of these companies with 100 or more employees already offer quality coverage.  Today’s rules phase in the percentage of full-time workers that employers need to offer coverage to from 70 percent in 2015 to 95 percent in 2016 and beyond. Employers in this category that do not meet these standards will make an employer responsibility payment for 2015.
    • Employers with 50 to 99 employees (about 2% of employers): Companies with 50-99 employees that do not yet provide quality, affordable health insurance to their full-time workers will report on their workers and coverage in 2015, but have until 2016 before any employer responsibility payments could apply.
  • State-by-State Information Contacts for ACA Enrollment - A Resource for Legislatures (updated for new enrollment by consumers or small employers)
  • NCSL state action news:
      • Survey of Potential Marketplace Enrollees by Commonwealth Fund  [read article] Jan. 17, 2013
      • Some Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Policies in Doubt? [read articles]  Nov. 27, 2013
      • Policy Cancelations Lead to Options for Fix in 2014 - [read article] Nov. 15, 2013
      • Report estimates number eligible for premium tax subsidies - [ read article]  Nov. 15, 3013
  • Federal Health Reform News: NCSL News and information on President Obama’s ACA proposal addressing insurance cancelations, including material on congressional measures, the president's statements and responses from several sources including the NAIC and AHIP.
  •  Online SHOP Exchanges for small businesses delayed until 2015.  On Nov. 27, 2013 the Obama Administration announced another delay for SHOP the small businesses option to buy group insurance online for employees through the marketplaces run by the federal government in 36 states. This feature is now set to be in place one year later, in November 2014 for coverage in 2015.  Small employers can still use paper applications to buy through a federal marketplace for 2014, likely using an insurance broker. The 14 state-run exchanges can continue to use online tools to sign up small employers through SHOP. Small businesses with up to 25 employees can be eligible for premium subsidies, but only if the purchase is made through an exchange, and not the commercial market outside of the exchanges or marketplaces. The new HHS guidance for SHOP as of late November states: "You enroll in SHOP coverage directly through an agent, broker, or insurance company. Work with an agent, broker or insurance company to help you apply for SHOP eligibility and find and compare available SHOP plans. You can also use the HHS premium estimation tool on to browse and compare plans and pricing information."  More.
  • An HHS report provided examples of the health plan choices and premiums that are available in the federally involved marketplaces. The report also includes similar information that is publicly available from the states and the District of Columbia that are implementing their own marketplace.

[Disclaimer: NCSL provides links to third-party sources for information only and is not responsible for opinions or links contained on such websites.]

Key Exchange and Health Reform Resources

  • American Health Benefit Exchange (Federal Overview)
    Includes information on essential health benefits packages, model legislation from NAIC, federal requirements of exchanges and guidance from HHS.
  • Blueprint for Approval of Affordable Health Insurance Marketplaces (Updated for 2014) -CMS/HHS - 508_cms-10416_-_blueprint_2015_masterfinal [PDF, 167 pp] 
  • Essential Health Benefits State Benchmark Plans | Health plans offered both inside and outside of the health insurance exchanges as of Jan. 1, 2014, must offer a comprehensive package of Essential Health Benefits (EHB) based on provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). EHBs are required to include items and services within at least 10 broad categories.  By September 2012, states could chose their EHB package based on existing health insurance plans, or defer to a federally defined but state-based template plan. This link provides more information on EHBs and state benchmark selections.
  • Federal Guidance and Regulation of State Health Benefit Exchanges | Information and summaries of federal guidance and regulations affecting state health benefit exchange implementation.
  • Health Reform 2014 State Legislative Tracking Database  | The latest listings, with summaries and status for more than 950 filed measures. Posted Mar. 25, 2014 
  • Health Reform 2011/13 State Legislative Tracking Database The latest listings, with summaries and status for more than 2,550 measures filed throughout 2011-2013 in all 50 states and DC. .
  • Health Reform: State Actions Newsletter | The Affordable Care Act: State Action Newsletter highlights state actions (that the state is taking or will need to take) related to the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor


(also see table and map above)

Nationwide Summary [also HHS Enrollment online]

.     State Figures as of Mar. 1, 2014 or later                                                     TOTAL         State-Run   Fed.-Facilitated
Number of individuals who have enrolled in a Marketplace plan                        4,442,325        1,621,239     2,621,086 

Number of individuals determined eligible for Medicaid/CHIP by a Marketplace   4,377,932        2,706,404     1,378,871
      Key: Allow Renewal: 1st "Y"= now: 2013 state policy; 2nd "Y" or "N"= future: updated state policy for 2014.  ~ = not decided; not available





Did Not Pass

health insurance
Selected a Plan

as of 2/1/2014 unless dated later

Eligible for Enrollment
for  Medicaid/CHIP

as of 2/1/2014 unless dated later

now / futur
as of 12/3/2013



2011, 2012


55,034 (3/1/14)

17,980 (3/1/14) Y / Y


  2011, 2012   6,666 (3/1/14) 2,901 (3/1/14) Y / N



2011, 2012   57,611 (3/1/14) 66,991 (3/1/14) Y / ~



2011   27,395 (3/1/14) 57,455(3/1/14)
76,899 via exchange w/
Medicaid expansion funds
Y / N



    868,936 (3/1/14)

850,000 (3/1/14)
+ 630,000 from Low Income
Health Program (1/1/14)

N / N
 Colorado 2011    

83,469 (3/1/14)

123,820 (2/1/14)

135,560 (3/1/14) Y / N



    57,465 (3/1/14) 73,842 (3/1/14) Y / N



  Exec. action 6,538 (3/1/14)

7,663 (3/1/14)

Y / N
 District of Columbia 2012    

 6,249 (3/1/14)

9,630 (3/1/14) Y / N



-   442,087 (3/1/14) 124,363 (3/1/14) Y / Y



2011, 2012   139,371 (3/1/14) 62,162 (3/1/14) Y / Y
 Hawaii 2011     4,661 (3/1/14) 39,282 (1/10/14)
2,148 eligible via CHIP
 Idaho   2012   43,861 (3/1/14) 9,443 (3/1/14) Y / ~


2011 (intent)

    113,733 (3/1/14) 131,995 (3/1/14) ~ / Y



2011   64,972 (3/1/14) 65,846 (3/1/14) Y / N
 Iowa   2011, 2012   15,346 (3/1/14) 28,981 (3/1/14) Y / N
 Kansas   2011   29,309 (3/1/14) 10,344 (3/1/14) Y / Y



  Exec. order 54,945 (3/1/14)  + 475 employers

222,448 (3/1/14) 

Y / Y



2012   45,561 (3/1/14) 10,344(3/1/14)  Y / Y



2011, 2012   25,412 (3/1/14) 5,494 (2/1/14)  Y / Y



-   38,070 (3/1/14)  103,670 (2/1/14)  Y / N



-   12,965 (3/1/14) n/a N* / N



2012   144,587 (3/1/14) 40,347 (2/1/14)  Y / Y


2011, 2012

    32,030 (3/1/14) 72,170 Y / N



  state run SHOP only 25,554 (3/1/14)  8,753 Y / N
 Missouri       74,469 (3/1/14)  32,890  
 Montana       22,542 (3/1/14) 3,643  
 Nebraska - -   25,582 (3/1/14)  10,557 Y / N
 Nevada   - Exec. action 22,597 (3/1/14) 101,389 Y / N

 New  Hampshire


2011   21,578 (3/1/14)  4.734 Y / Y

 New Jersey

2012 vetoed

2012   74,370 (3/1/14)  123,092 ~ / Y
 New Mexico 2011 vetoed 2012 state run SHOP only 15,012 (3/1/14)
   166 SHOP
20,620 Y / ~

 New York


- Exec. order 244,618 (3/1/14)
    5,047 SHOP
310,645 (3/1/14)  N / N

 North Carolina

2011 (intent)

2011   200,546 (3/1/14) 55,691 Y / Y

 North Dakota


2011 72 5,238 (3/1/14) 4,812 ~ / Y



2012   78,925 (3/1/14)  9,477 Y / Y
 Oklahoma   2011, 2012   32,882 (3/1/14) 11,709 Y / N



    38,806 (3/1/14) 104,715 N / N
 Pennsylvania   2012   159,821 (3/1/14) 32,793 ~ / Y

 Rhode Island


2011   18,902  (3/1/14) 
SHOP: 107 employers = 658
45,226 N / N

 South Carolina


2011, 2012   55,830 (3/1/14)  19,747 Y / Y
 South Dakota       ,6765 (3/1/14) 2,862  



    77,867 (3/1/14)  55,672 Y / Y



2011   295,025 (3/1/14)  94,954 Y / Y



  state run SHOP only

39,902 (3/1/14) 
357 SHOP employers

36,353 Y / Y~
 Vermont 2011     24,326 (3/1/14)  24,333  Y / N


2011 (intent)


74,199 (3/1/14)


Y / N

 Washington 2011     107,262 (3/1/14) 628,893 N / N
 West Virginia 2011     10,599 (3/1/14) 16,569 Y / N



2012   71,443 (3/1/14) 68,655 Y / Y



-   6,838 (3/1/14) 1,646 Y / Y

Marketplace Enrollment as of March 1, 2014
Individual market only; excludes SHOP and Medicaid enrollment

Marketplace enrollment map - accompanies a 50-state table

Table Sources: - NCSL Research; Powered by StateNet, 2011-2014; Enrollment from  ASPE Office of Health Policy, HHS, Mar 11, 2014; ASPE Office of Health Policy, HHS, Jan.13, 2014;  NAIC Dec. 3, 2013 update of "State Decisions on 2014 Renewal of Non-Grandfathered Health Plans."
* - total may include individual, SHOP and Medicaid enrollment - see state announcement

News & Commentary

[Disclaimer: NCSL provides links to third-party sources for information only and is not responsible for opinions or links contained on such websites.]


Notes for "Health Insurance Exchanges or Marketplaces: State Actions" 50-state tables

1 Declaration refers to the decision the state made in regards to developing a state based health insurance exchange. This section provides links to the declaration letter and the approval or conditional approval from HHS. Resource: The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, HHS, Jan. 4, 2013.

2Structure refers to where the exchange will be housed in the state.

3 Governance refers to the governing board outlined in the law.

4 Selection of Carriers is regarding how a state will operate the exchange. States have options to operate their exchange from an “active purchaser” model in which the exchange operates as large employers often do, using market leverage and the tools of managed competition to negotiate product offerings with the exchange..To the “open marketplace” in which the exchange operates as a clearing house that is open to all qualified insurers and relies on market forces to generate product offerings as is the case in CO and UT. For these states, This means that any insurer that meets the Qualified Health Plans standard can participate in the exchange. On the other hand, a state governing board can participate in selective contracting and pick and choose which insurers are allowed to participate as is the case in CA, MA, and CT.

5 Highlights include announcements, unique facts, etc.

6 Federal Grants are a part of the Affordable Care Act and are available to states to plan and implement exchanges. State exchanges must be self sufficient by 2015.

** California was the only state to pass exchange establishment in 2010.
***For details on 2011-2013 bills that did not pass, please click here to access the NCSL bill tracking database.  
Massachusetts and Utah passed laws prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010. Please see State Table 1 for information on these two states.

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