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Feds Say Washington Making Progress On Health Exchange

It's official: Washington has reached a milestone in creating its own health exchange. On Monday the US Department of Health and Human Services announced Washington is among six states to make significant progress in developing an online market for health plans.

The six states were able to show that they are on track to meet federal deadlines and have made enough progress to receive "conditional approval" from the federal government. Washington submitted a blueprint that outlined how it plans to be up and running 10 months from now.

Gary Cohen is with the department’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. He says there’s still work to be done.

"The six states today have demonstrated that they have made good progress and have a plan on the path that we believe will get them to full operation of the exchange," he said. "As long as the state is on the path towards being able to operate the exchange, then the conditional approval will remain.”

Washington state is among a dozen states that opted to create its own health exchange. Oregon is also creating its own online program, and has received conditional approval as well. Other states have until the end of the week to decide whether to set up their own exchange, or set up a partnership with the federal agency.

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