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PPACA: HHS Offers Exchange Grants

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing more grants to help states set up health insurance exchange programs.

Amounts will vary, and letters of intent will be due Feb. 22, HHS officials say in the health insurance exchange grant announcement.

HHS officials have created one level of grants for states that are just getting started with planning exchanges, and another level for states that are further along.

States that want to run their own health insurance exchanges “must show progress in implementing the health insurance market reforms” in the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), created the health insurance exchange program to create “one stop shopping” for subsidized individual and small group health coverage starting in 2014. Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal the act or block implementation.

HHS officials report that California already has passed a health exchange law and that agencies in some other states, such as Colorado and Maryland, have started exchange-related research and public outreach efforts.