CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The federal government Thursday gave Nevada initial approval to run its own health insurance exchange program as called for under the federal health care reform law.
The announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius means the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange is on track to begin taking enrollments in October.
"I applaud Nevada's work to build a new health insurance marketplace," Sebelius said in a statement, adding the state has made "significant progress" in its efforts.
Under the federal health care law, states were required to set up insurance exchange programs to help people find coverage or the federal government would do it for them.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed and state lawmakers approved setting up the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange during the 2011 legislative session.
Sandoval opposed the health care law and Nevada was one of more than two dozen states that challenged it in court.
But even while the law was pending in the courts, Sandoval pressed ahead with establishing the exchange, saying it was better to have the state in charge rather that cede control to the federal government.