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Minn. meets deadline for health exchange

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States must submit their plans to the federal government Friday for a key part of the federal health care law -- the insurance exchanges. But Minnesota is already ahead of the game.

The insurance exchanges have been a politically charged topic around the country, as some Republican governors and legislatures have stalled or spurned the idea of building exchanges in their states.

The exchanges will allow consumers to comparison shop for health insurance in online marketplaces.

Minnesota submitted its plan to build an exchange last month. The next major task is to enact legislation authorizing an exchange in Minnesota. Lawmakers say they'll have a bill ready when the session begins in January.

Minnesota and the other states that are setting up their own exchanges are under tight deadlines. They must be ready for enrollment Oct. 1, 2013.

Fewer than half the states are pursuing their own exchanges. The rest will rely on the federal government to provide the service.