The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a proposed rule setting minimum standards for Web-based state insurance exchanges, mandated under the Affordable Care Act, to provide one-stop shopping of health coverage for individuals and small businesses.

Under the reform law, states must notify HHS by 2013 of their intent to build an exchange and to have it operational in 2014. The federal government will develop an exchange in any state that refuses to do so. So far, 49 states and four territories have accepted federal planning grants for the initiatives, to be called Affordable Insurance Exchanges.

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