By Sam Baker - 03/07/13 04:33 PM EST
Exchanges will function as one-stop online marketplaces where consumers can compare and buy private health insurance or enroll in Medicaid, if they're eligible.
Exchanges are only open to people who buy coverage on their own, rather than getting it through an employer, and most people who use the new marketplaces will receive a subsidy from the government to help pay for their coverage.
Republican governors have largely resisted building their own exchanges, in an effort to strain the federal implementation effort and remain steadfast in opposition to all things "ObamaCare" — even though the decision invites greater federal control over those states' healthcare markets.
But a small handful of Republicans — including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, whose state won conditional approval on Thursday — have decided to take on the task themselves or share the responsibilities with HHS.
“HHS will continue to work collaboratively with all states to build the Marketplace,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “Working together, we will be ready in seven months when consumers will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans.”
— This post was updated at 1:46 p.m. An earlier version incorrectly identified the number of states receiving conditional approval Thursday.