The Obama administration has delayed another step in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Department of Health and Human Services informed insurance companies earlier this week that it will not sign final agreements on insurances plans to be offered on the federal exchanges until mid-September, according to Reuters. It was originally expected to do so between September 5 and September 9.
The finalization of the plans is crucial to the federal exchanges, which are set to go into effect October 1. According to an HHS spokesman, the exchanges will still open on time. The delay affects the exchanges being set up in 34 states; the remaining 16 have opted to implement their own marketplaces.
A former administration official who worked on the law’s implementation emphasized that January 1, the date when coverage is set to begin under the exchanges is far more important than the October 1 date, and that if the administration fails to meet that deadline it would be a “substantive setback.”