CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state of West Virginia needs questions answered in order to expand its Medicaid program and set up its health insurance exchange on time, Jeremiah Samples, assistant secretary for the state Department of Health and Human Resources, said.
Enrollment in both the expanded Medicaid program and the exchange is planned for Oct. 1, with coverage starting in January.
Much of the state's responsibility in implementing the Affordable Care Act depends on the federal government doing its part, Samples said.
"There are many factors that are driving implementation that are dependent on the federal government meeting critical deadlines," Samples said. ... "So I can't necessarily speak to the federal government's implementation. HHS says they are proceeding and will meet their [deadlines for] components."
Samples said the state is "creating contingency plans" in the instances that the federal government doesn't meet those requirements.
"We want to be able to meet the deadlines where there's state responsibility," Samples said.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced in May the state would expand its Medicaid program to cover those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or $32,500 for a family of four as a part of the Affordable Care Act. State officials say expanding the program will provide insurance coverage to 91,500 state residents.
Last week Tomblin wrote a letter directing 10 questions to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tomblin's questions focused on Medicaid expansion and creating a health insurance marketplace.