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Kansas Will Have Federally Operated Health Exchange

The new online health insurance marketplace going into effect next year in Kansas as part of the Affordable Care Act will be operated by federal, not state, officials.

That is because Gov. Sam Brownback refused to have any role in implementing what he calls "Obamacare."

Last Friday was the final deadline for states to notify federal officials of their interest in creating a federal-state partnership model for the new health insurance exchange. The deadline came and went with no action by Gov. Brownback.

That means Kansans who go online to shop for individual and small group policies next year will be using a federally-operated marketplace.

Still, states can revisit their decisions for 2015 and beyond.

“That’s clearly not the last opportunity that states will have, either to establish their own exchanges, or to work with us in a partnership arrangement," says Michael Hash of the federal Office of Health Reform.

But Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who argued strenuously for state involvement in the exchange, says it is too late for one benefit of a state-operated or partnership exchange.

“There won’t be financial assistance," she says. "The financial assistance runs out at the end of 2014, so we’d have to do it with state dollars."