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CMS Confident as HIX Deadline Nears

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, March 26, 2014

"As this historic open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace enters its final days, we've seen the momentum gathering across the country," a spokeswoman at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told HealthLeaders on Monday. "Since October 1, more than 5 million people have signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and we're continuing to work hard to ensure that every American who wants to enroll in affordable coverage by the March 31 deadline is able to do so."

And CMS officials are expressing confidence in the new exchanges as they look to the future. On March 14, CMS released its Final 2015 Letter for the public exchanges, which set several rule changes for the exchanges next year. Also on March 14, CMS released a 278-page document which proposes more rules changes for 2015 such as protecting exchange navigators from state interference.

"Based on the experience of this open enrollment period, we are also already looking ahead to 2015 and have taken steps to provide early guidance and certainty stakeholders need to provide affordable health coverage next year and beyond," the CMS spokeswoman said.

After reviewing the lengthy document detailing proposed rules changes, a legal analyst at Wolters and Kluwer's Health Reform KnowlEDGE Center in Illinois said its title, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange and Insurance Market Standards for 2015 and Beyond, uses language "not typical of HHS," noting the similarity to the Buzz Lightyear catchphrase, "To infinity … and beyond!"

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