Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen has awarded a new round of Affordable Insurance Exchange Establishment Grants to Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia. The hope is that these awards will give states the flexibility and resources needed to create new health insurance marketplaces, known as Exchanges, for their residents.
“States continue to make progress toward building Exchanges that work best for their residents,” Secretary Sebelius said. “The resources announced today will ensure states have the assistance they need to continue moving forward.”
Because of the Affordable Care Act, consumers and small businesses will have access to Exchanges starting in 2014. The Exchanges are one-stop marketplaces that will provide access to quality, affordable private health insurance choices similar to those offered to members of Congress. Consumers in every state will be able to buy insurance from qualified health plans directly through these marketplaces and may be eligible for tax credits to help pay for their health insurance. These competitive marketplaces promote competition in the insurance marketplace and provide consumers with more insurance choices.
Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Minnesota received awards today for Level One Exchange Establishment Grants, one-year grants awarded to states to build Exchanges. The District of Columbia received a Level Two Exchange Establishment Grant today, a multi-year grant awarded to states further along in building their Exchanges.
A total of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have received grants to begin planning their Exchanges, and 34 states and the District of Columbia have received grants to begin building their Exchanges. To ensure states have the support and time they need to build an Exchange, states may apply for grants through the end of 2014 and may use funds through the initial start-up year.