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Florida Senate: No Health-Insurance Exchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSMiami) – The Florida Senate launched a webpage Monday about the federal Affordable Care Act, reiterating that the state will not run a health-insurance exchange in January 2014.

The News Service of Florida reports states have a Friday deadline for notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about their exchange plans. House and Senate leaders have already said the state cannot make a decision on an exchange until the 2013 legislative session.

A question-and-answer section of the new webpage made clear the state wouldn't be ready to run an exchange in 2014, even if it wanted to do so.

Federal officials initially set a November deadline but gave states another month. "Florida, and several other states, did not submit a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the November deadline to indicate an intention to operate a state based exchange for health care coverage in calendar year 2014,'' the new Senate webpage says. "Another deadline is set for December 14, but Florida's position is unlikely to change at that time."

Health-insurance exchanges are a critical part of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 federal law aimed expanding coverage to most Americans.

The exchanges, which will begin operating in 2014, will serve as online marketplaces for consumers to shop for health insurance. If states don't establish exchanges, the federal government will do it for them.

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