HHS Announces $1.5B in State Insurance Exchange Grants
The insurance exchanges won't insure people until 2014, but they need to be ready for open enrollment in October, which is just nine months away.
This isn't the first time these states have received a federal grant aimed at insurance exchanges.
HHS started handing out grant money in 2010; nearly all states have received some funds to study the feasibility and challenges of setting up exchanges. Alaska is the only state without any financial awards because it didn't apply for any of the grants.
States may continue to apply for grants to help run the insurance exchanges through 2014. After that, the exchanges will be funded through an administrative tax on health plans.
So far, 25 states have decided to let the federal government set up and run their insurance exchanges, though states can decide at any time to ease out of that decision and instead partner with the federal government.
There is one state whose insurance exchange leadership has yet to be decided. Two Mississippi officials—Governor Phil Bryant and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney—are at odds over having the state run its own exchange.
Chaney wants the state to carry out its plans to run one and sent in Mississippi's application to federal officials, though they have held off granting approval. Chaney went so far as to have the state's attorney general weigh in on the issue. The Clarion Ledger reports the AG issued an opinion stating the insurance commissioner does have the right to create and run an insurance exchange.
Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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