New funding on tap for health insurance exchanges
On the heels of the Supreme Court ruling that upholds the health reform law, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced June 29 new funding to help states continue their work to build health insurance exchanges as specified under the Affordable Care Act.
HHS is making more funding available to build all models of affordable insurance exchanges available to states. HHS also issued further guidance to help states understand the full scope of activities that can be funded under the available grant funding as they work to build exchanges.
“The federal government and our state partners are moving forward to implement the healthcare law,” Sebelius said. “This new funding opportunity will give states the resources they need to establish affordable insurance exchanges and ensure Americans are no longer on their own when shopping for insurance.”
[See also: Exchange deadline creeps closer]
The HHS will provide states with 10 additional opportunities to apply for funding to establish a state-based exchange, state partnership exchange, or to prepare state systems for a federally facilitated exchange. To date, 34 states and the District of Columbia have received approximately $850 million in Exchange Establishment Level One and Level Two cooperative agreements to fund their progress toward building exchanges.
Now, states can apply for exchange establishment cooperative agreements through the end of 2014. The funds are available for states to use beyond 2014 as they continue to work on their exchanges. This ensures that states have the support and time necessary to build the best exchange for their residents, Sebelius said in a news release.
The HHS guidance provides information on the exchange-building activities that states can fund with establishment cooperative agreements.
HHS will conduct regional implementation forums in coming months to assist states and stakeholders on the work to be done in building exchanges, and to address their questions. HHS will also engage with tribes, tribal governments and tribal organizations on how exchanges can serve their populations.