Healthcare Business News

$224 million in exchange grants awarded

By Rich Daly
Posted: September 27, 2012 - 3:15 pm ET

As a Nov. 16 deadline approaches for states to submit their health insurance exchange plans, HHS announced that the total number receiving implementation funds has reached 34.

The latest round of about $224 million in so-called establishment grants went to Arkansas, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Minnesota, according to the HHS tracking site. The grants were preceded by planning grants, which went to 49 states, and some states received previous rounds of implementation funding. Those totals include seven states that have returned their various types of exchange grants, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“The resources announced today will ensure states have the assistance they need to continue moving forward,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release.

The exchanges were authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to offer private insurance plan options that meet federal and state specifications in each state by 2014, with federal subsidies for many of the enrollees.

Any state that submits plans in November and receives HHS certification in January 2013 will independently operate its insurance marketplace. But other state exchanges either will operate as combined federal-state ventures or be wholly operated by the federal government.

As many as 30 Republican-led states may at least initially decline to operate their own exchange due to the opposition to the healthcare overhaul, one senior HHS official has said. All of the latest recipients are led by Democratic administrations.

To encourage Republican administrations to set up an exchange, HHS has allowed states to apply for grants through the end of 2014 and to use the funds through the initial start-up year.

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