Eight states received funding to offer citizens and small businesses access to health insurance exchanges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Aug. 23. California, Hawaii, Iowa and New York were awarded Level One Exchange Establishment grants, which provide one year of funding to states that are in the starting stages of building an exchange. Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada and Vermont received Level Two grants, which are multiyear grants provided to states further along in the process of building an exchange.

Health insurance exchanges, which are one-stop marketplaces for comparing and selecting health insurance, are being created to support President Barack Obama's recent law that requires every citizen to have health insurance. According to the HHS, access to these exchanges will be available in 2014, will provide access to “high-quality, affordable health insurance” and will provide citizens with “the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress.”

“We continue to support states as they move forward building an exchange that works for them,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Thanks to the health-care law, Americans will have more health insurance choices and the ability to compare insurance plans.”

A detailed breakdown of each grant and what each state plans to do with its exchange funding is available on Healthcare.gov.