The Department of Health and Human Services Friday extended to Dec. 14 the deadline for states to submit a blueprint for their state-based health insurance exchange. However, states that intend to run their own exchange must submit a letter to HHS by Nov. 16 notifying the agency of their intention, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote Friday in a letter to governors. In addition, HHS extended to Feb. 15, 2013 the deadline for states to submit their plans to the agency if they elect to participate in a partnership exchange with the federal government. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires states to establish exchanges to facilitate the purchase of qualified health plans in the individual and small group markets beginning in 2014. For states that do not create an exchange, HHS will create and operate a federally facilitated exchange.