The federal official charged with helping states implement insurance exchanges under the 2010 healthcare law is leaving his post Sept. 23, according to a leaked HHS memo.
HHS' insurance exchange director leaving post in September
Joel Ario, director of the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges at HHS, will leave that post “in the near future,” Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the CMS, told reporters Tuesday.
“Exchange planning will proceed as it is now,” Larsen said when asked about Ario's departure following his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. “As it is now, it's a very strong team.”
Larsen would not comment on why Ario is leaving.
Instead of replacing Ario, HHS plans to split his responsibilities between Tim Hill, deputy director of CCIIO, and Larsen, according to an e-mail from Larsen to HHS staff.
Ario was the Pennsylvania insurance commissioner before joining HHS in 2010.
The departure of Ario comes as HHS continues to develop the complex rules governing the state-based exchanges, or insurance marketplaces, which are a cornerstone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law requires each state to offer an exchange that meets strict requirements or for the federal government to offer one in their place by 2014. An estimated 16 million people are expected to receive coverage through the exchanges.
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