Feds give Minnesota preliminary OK on health exchange

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Minnesota has received a key approval in its effort to establish a health insurance exchange in the state, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Gov. Mark Dayton Thursday that Minnesota has been granted conditional approval to operate its health insurance marketplace in 2014.

The exchanges are a key – and controversial – part of the federal health care law championed by President Barack Obama.

The exchanges, designed to allow consumers to comparison shop for health insurance in online marketplaces, have sparked hot debate nationwide. Some Republican governors and legislatures have rejected the invitation to build the exchanges in their states, and only 18 states are pursuing them. Those that aren't will rely on the federal government to provide services.

Here's more info from the state about the planned exchange, which is expected to serve about 20 percent of the state, or 1.2 million Minnesotans.

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