KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

HHS Awards New Insurance Exchange Grants To 8 States

The funding will be used to help build marketplaces for consumers to buy coverage.

Modern Healthcare: HHS Awards $765 Million In Insurance Exchange Grants
HHS has awarded eight states more than $765 million in additional grant funding to establish the health insurance exchanges that are supposed to be available for consumers in 2014. The department awarded level-one establishment grants—which provide a year of funding to states that have already started the process to build an exchange—to California, Hawaii, Iowa and New York. Meanwhile, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada and Vermont received level-two grants, which are awarded to states that have made more progress in their planning efforts. HHS reports that 34 states and Washington, D.C., have received establishment grants (Zigmond, 8/23). 

Politico Pro: Eight States Receive New Exchange Grants
HHS announced a new round of exchange establishment grants Thursday, and reiterated that states will have another 10 chances to apply for funding before the end of 2014. California, Hawaii, Iowa and New York were awarded Level One Exchange Establishment grants, which provide one year of funding to states that have begun the process of building their exchanges. California alone received $194.5 million (Norman, 8/23).

The Washington Post's Maryland Politics: State Unveils Name, Logo For Insurance Exchange Under The Federal Health Care Law
Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) administration on Thursday released the name, logo and Web site for a new state government unit created to let residents purchase health insurance plans next year under the Affordable Care Act. Maryland Health Connection will begin open enrollment in October 2013 (Davis, 8/23).

Baltimore Sun: Maryland Wins Big Grant For Its Insurance Marketplace
Maryland secured $123 million of federal funding to launch its health insurance exchange, the cornerstone of President Barack Obama's health care reform, state officials announced Thursday. The money will help build the marketplace, now formally called the Maryland Health Connection, where hundreds of thousands of uninsured Marylanders will buy coverage. It is expected to open by October 2013, and insurance coverage would begin the following January (Cohn, 8/23).

California Healthline: What's In An Exchange Name?
A few ideas for a new name -- ranging from the expected, traditional options to the less expected, non-traditional  -- were floated at yesterday's Health Benefit Exchange board meeting. The board's executive director, Peter Lee, also announced yesterday that the federal government just approved the exchange's Level 1.2 grant request for $196 million. The exchange staff has already started working on the next grant request, a Level 1.3 establishment grant, which will be submitted to federal officials in November, Lee said. The board had a full slate of issues to handle at yesterday's meeting -- from working out the details for how agents would be paid in SHOP exchanges to decisions about premium aggregation (Gorn, 8/24).

Detroit Free Press: Michigan To Ask U.S. To Run Health Insurance Website
Michigan is likely to ask the federal government in November to run a Web-based state health insurance shopping site, Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday. Michigan still hopes to run some parts of the program and wants to collect nearly $10 million awarded to the state by federal health officials, his spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said. "Given the reality of current deadlines" and the fact that Michigan's Legislature has taken no action yet on how the program will be run here, Snyder has few other options, she said (Anstett, 8/24).

Minnesota Public Radio: Gov. Dayton Asks For Additional $42.5M To Build Health Exchange
The Dayton administration has asked the federal government for another $42.5 million to build Minnesota's insurance exchange, a key part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. In a letter to top state lawmakers, Dayton also said his administration will wait to make any final decisions on the exchange until after the November elections. But that's less than two weeks before a major deadline for detailed plans of the exchange to the federal government (Stawicki, 8/24).

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