The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has posted Frequently Asked Questions regarding the approval process for health insurance exchanges set forth May 16 in its draft blueprint for approval of state-based and partnership exchanges. According to the FAQ, states seeking to operate a state-based exchange or electing to participate in a partnership exchange for plan year 2014 must submit a complete "exchange blueprint" by Nov. 16, 2012, which includes an "exchange model declaration letter" from the governor and an application describing readiness to perform exchange activities and functions. "If a state's model Declaration Letter is received at least 20 business days prior to the application, a state may request a Blueprint consultation where CMS will provide technical assistance and guidance to the state in completing the application," the FAQ adds. States pursuing a federally facilitated exchange need not submit a blueprint application, but CMS recommends that they submit a model declaration letter to help ensure alignment with the federally facilitated exchange. CMS said it does not expect the final blueprint requirements to change significantly.