Today was supposed to be the deadline for states to tell the federal government whether they'd be building their own health insurance exchanges. But at the request of Republican governors, according to The New York Times, the Obama administration has extended the deadline nearly one month -- to Dec. 14, 2012.

In a letter addressed to Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who asked President Obama to move the deadline on behalf of the Republican Governors Association, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote, “We’re confident Governors will have enough time to decide whether they want to establish an Exchange, work in partnership with the federal government or have a federally-facilitated Exchange in their state.”

After states submit their applications to the federal government saying whether they want to run their own exchanges, Sebelius will have until Jan. 1, 2013 to decide which are capable of doing so, according to The Times.

Starting in October 2013, people will be able to enroll in health plans for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014, which is when most Americans must have health insurance.

Photo of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius courtesy of The White House.