The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $185 million to 13 states and the District of Columbia on Aug. 12 to help them build Affordable Insurance Exchanges—one stop marketplaces that allow consumers to choose a private health insurance plan that mirrors insurance choices offered to members of Congress.
Since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, more than half of the states have taken action to build insurance exchanges. The act creates Affordable Insurance Exchanges that will allow eligible individuals, families, and small businesses to shop for coverage starting in 2014.
In 2010, HHS awarded 49 states and the District of Columbia $50 million to begin planning their Exchanges. HHS expects to make more grant awards in coming months.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to governors the same day laying out options and resources available to states to set up exchanges. “Too many American families have been priced out or locked out of the health insurance market. Exchanges will give them control and could save them thousands of dollars a year,” said Sebelius, in a statement. “I am encouraged by the progress states have made to date and am excited to give them more resources to continue their work.”