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Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Awards Affordable Insurance Exchange Grants to States

November 30, 2011 11:52 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Awards Affordable Insurance Exchange Grants to States

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded nearly $220 million in Affordable Insurance Exchange grants to 13 states to help them create Exchanges, giving these states more flexibility and resources to implement the Affordable Care Act. More than half of states now creating marketplaces to help millions of families and small businesses buy insurance.  The health care reform law gives states the freedom to design Affordable Insurance Exchanges - one-stop marketplaces where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan that fits their health needs and have the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress.

The Department also released several Frequently Asked Questions providing answers to key questions states need to know as they work to set up these new marketplaces. Critical among these are that states that run Exchanges have more options than originally proposed when it comes to determining eligibility for tax credits and Medicaid.  And states have more time toapply for "Level One" Exchange grants.
 
In the new Exchanges, insurers will provide new information such as an easy-to-understand summary of benefits and costs to consumers. The level of detail will sharpen competition between carriers which will drive costs down.

Of the 13 states awarded grants, 12 are receiving Level One grants, which provide one year of funding to states that have already made progress using their Exchange planning grant. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have already received planning grants, and 45 states have consulted with consumer advocates and insurance companies.  Thirteen states have passed legislation to create an Exchange.

States have many opportunities to apply for funding. To accommodate state legislative sessions and to give states more time to apply, HHS also announced a six-month extension for Level One establishment grant applications.  Applications now will be accepted until June 29, 2012 (the original deadline was December 30, 2011).
 
For more information on Affordable Insurance Exchanges, visit
http://www.HealthCare.gov/law/features/choices/exchanges/index.html

For more information on the States receiving grants, visit
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/05/exchanges05232011a.html
 

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