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Insurance exchange grants go to six more states


Another healthcare reform law mandate gains traction thanks to millions of dollars from the federal government. And there's more money to be had.

More states are working to create the affordable insurance exchanges mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and six more states were recently awarded grants totaling $181 million to help them continue the implementation process.

Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota,Tennessee, and Washington are the latest states to receive grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In 2010, 49 states and the District of Columbia received exchange planning grants totaling more than $54 million, and seven states were given more than $249 million in early innovator funds in 2011. To date, HHS says 34 states and the District of Columbia have been awarded more than $856 million in establishment grants.

The grants provide 1 year of funding to states that have begun building affordable insurance exchanges, which will be offered in every state in 2014 to help consumers and small businesses choose private health insurance plans. Washington is the second state to earn a level two establishment grant, which provides multiple-year funding to states that are further along in building exchanges, HHS says.

States can apply for the grants through 2014, and funds can be used beyond that deadline as states continue to develop their exchanges. Consumers living in states that don’t develop their own exchanges will be able to participate in a federally facilitated exchange (FFE) operated by HHS.

HHS also recently released two new guidance documents on exchanges, one detailing resources available for states and another on FFEs.

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