Virginia state-based ACA exchange approved for this fall; will become 19th to date


Last month the Centers for Medicaid & Medicaid Services (CMS) director of the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO...yeah, those names & acronyms just roll off the tongue, don't they?) informed the state of Georgia that they're gonna have to wait one more year before launching their own fully state-based ACA exchange (SBE) platform.

Georgia's insurance commissioner wasn't pleased about the delay, to say the least, but he agreed to bump the launch out another year even if he grumbled while doing so.

There were several reasons given for the 1-year delay, but many of them stemmed from the fact that Georgia was attempting to skip the "Federally-Facilitated" SBE phase which every other state which has made the transition to their own full state-based platform has undergone for at least one year.

A few weeks later, CCIIO granted approval for Virginia's move to a full SBE. Unlike Georgia, Virginia is currently operating as a FF-SBE, and apparently they've satisfied CMS on just about every item on the checklist. As Amy Lotven reports at Inside Health Policy:

Virginia is slated to become the nation’s 19th state-based exchange now that CMS has given officials the greenlight to fully transition away from starting Nov. 1 for the 2024 plan year. Meanwhile, the State Corporation Commission (SCC), which administers the exchange, has suspended the state’s reinsurance program that had lowered premiums by about 20% for 2023, so individual plan rates are set to increase by an average 28.4%, according to a presentation made during an Aug. 9 hearing on the 2024 rates.

I already addressed the status of Virginia's reinsurance program a few days ago.

Virginia’s Health Benefit Exchange (VHBE) was enacted in 2020 by former Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and has been operating as a state-based exchange reliant on the federal platform (SBE-FP) since plan year 2021. The state paused the transition activity in 2021 after the enhanced premium tax credits were enacted but restarted it the following year.

In its Monday letter to VHBE Director Keven Patchett, CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) Director Ellen Montz congratulates the state on reaching a significant milestone, but also conditions CMS’ approval on successful completion of several functions. For example, while the state has proven that it can transfer plan data through the System for Electronic Rates & Forms Filing (SERFF), Virginia’s status as an SBE is reliant on completing the data transfer by Thursday (Aug. 17).

Note: This was a week ago...I haven't heard any news to the contrary so far, so I'm assuming that they did indeed complete the transfer by the 8/17 deadline.

Interestingly, I still have no idea what the actual website domain/URL is for Virginia's new state-based ACA exchange, but I presume that will be announced soon.

Once it goes live, Virginia will join California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington State in having their own fully state-based exchange. Georgia will presumably become the 20th state next fall, and Illinois recently passed legislation to become the 21st in the fall of 2025.