HHS has awarded eight states more than $765 million in additional grant funding to establish the health insurance exchanges that are supposed to be available for consumers in 2014.
The department awarded level-one establishment grants—which provide a year of funding to states that have already started the process to build an exchange—to California, Hawaii, Iowa and New York. Meanwhile, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada and Vermont received level-two grants, which are awarded to states that have made more progress in their planning efforts. HHS reports that 34 states and Washington, D.C.,
have received establishment grants.
The latest round of awards brings the overall total to about $1.6 billion.
Funding amounts vary among states. For instance, California received a second level one grant announced Thursday for $196.5 million. According to a breakdown from HHS, California will use funding from its second grant for a host of purposes, such as designing policies for enrollment and eligibility; implementing a public education and outreach program; and selecting and certifying qualified health plans for participation in the individual and small business health options program exchanges. Meanwhile, Iowa plans to use the $26.6 million it received in its second level-one grant to improve the eligibility system that the state's first level one grant provided.
Earlier this week, House Republican leaders criticized the CMS
for the agency's delay in releasing a proposed rule on the essential health benefits that health plans must include, given that states have fewer than 100 days to submit their exchange applications.