This week the New York Times reported that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will extend or waive the deadline for states interested in running their own health insurance exchange. HHS will work with states and set timelines and goals to progress toward creating an exchange. Every state is supposed to have an exchange by October.

Federal officials also are giving states that want to partner with the federal government extra time. States still have until Feb. 15 to file applications to operate exchanges “in partnership with the federal government.” The federal government will run the exchange in any state that is unwilling or unable to do so, which appears to be about half the states. Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia have received federal approval to run their own exchanges, 7 states are planning for a partnership exchange, and 25 have defaulted to a federal exchange.