CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia is "conditionally approved" by the federal government to operate an insurance marketplace, considered a key part of the national health law.
West Virginia's marketplace will be ready for open enrollment in October, according to Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Other conditionally approved states announced include Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire.
The marketplace aims to help consumers make it easier for individuals and small businesses to shop for insurance.
The West Virginia insurance commissioner's office has estimated that between 37,000 and 60,000 people would seek coverage through this new marketplace.
"I applaud efforts by West Virginia to build a new health insurance marketplace," Sebelius said. "Working together, we will be ready in seven months when residents of West Virginia will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans."
Conditional approval means the state has a plan and is making progress, but still more work needs to be done, according to Gary Cohen, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
"We want states to maintain a leadership role in an activity that has historically occurred at the state level," Cohen said.
While Health and Human Services will maintain certain roles, the state is free to expand in areas such as investing in additional consumer outreach, according to Cohen.