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Feds offer states $40 million in PPACA cash

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The Obama administration is distributing fourth round of health plan rate review grant money to state insurance departments.

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has issued a call for applications for $40 million in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) rate review grants.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and six territories can apply for the grants.

The minimum grant size is $719,643, and the maximum is $5 million, according to CCIIO.

States can use the money to get the legal authority to review rate changes, to expand the scope of existing rate review operations, to make rate information available to the public through the Web, and to analyze medical claims reimbursement data, according to CCIIO officials.

Applications are due July 21.

PPACA required CCIIO’s parent, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to help improve state health insurance rate review programs.

HHS set regulations that require state insurance departments or another entity to review any requests for increases of 10 percent or higher.

HHS does not require reviews of requests for large rate decreases.

In 2010, HHS awarded a total of $46 million in PPACA rate review program grants to 45 states and the District of Columbia.

HHS handed out rate review grants in three phases in 2011. That year, 29 states shared $109 million in Phase I grants; one state and three territories shared $8 million in Phase II grants; and one state received $2 million in Phase III grants.

In 2013, HHS awarded about $68 million in rate review grants to 20 states and one territory.

The grants could lead to contracts for information technology companies.

This year, CCIIO officials say, 15 states are using rate review grants to establish or improve health rate data centers.

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