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RICHMOND (AP) -- 11 health plans have been approved by Virginia officials to compete on a new federally-run insurance exchange, but a state official says approval of the plans is simply a recommendation.

State Corporation Commission insurance commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the federal government will decide which plans will compete on the exchange and the rates that they can charge.

The exchange will begin operating in Virginia on Jan. 1, 2014. Virginia opted to not establish its own exchange.

The SCC Bureau of Insurance approved five proposed plans for individual insurance coverage and six proposed plans for small businesses. Four other propose individual market plans were still under review at the close of business Wednesday.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com

AP-WF-08-01-13 1300GMT

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