10 More States Get Funding for Health Insurance Exchanges

An “innovation waiver” process also is finalized for states that want to take alternative approaches to the Affordable Care Act.

Ten more states have been awarded a total of $229 million by the federal government for the development of websites where Americans will be able to shop for health insurance plans.

These “health insurance exchanges” are one component of the Affordable Care Act, the health-care reform law that will make health insurance compulsory for most Americans.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday, Feb. 22, that Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee had received its latest round of funding.

So far, the federal government has disbursed $610 million to 33 states and the District of Columbia to spur development of the online insurance exchanges. More funding opportunities are forthcoming, officials said.

HealthCare.gov has posted a state-by-state list of funding amounts and what each state plans to do with its funding. See the list here.

“While states are moving at different rates in the planning and establishment process, the vast majority of states have already taken the crucial early steps in building these new marketplaces,” the HealthCare.gov page says.

Last month, the White House released a progress report that found that 28 states and the District of Columbia are “on their way” to standing up a health insurance exchange. The deadline to have these websites up and running is January 2014.

Although the Obama administration is claiming progress, statistics updated Feb. 7 by statehealthfacts.org present a less optimistic outlook: 14 states have established an exchange, four have plans to establish, 22 are studying options, nine have no significant activity, and two have decided not to create an exchange.

Along with Wednesday’s announcement of additional funding, the HHS also said that rules have been finalized for states that wish to request an “innovation waiver” in order pursue alternative approaches to various parts of the health-care reform law. More information about that waiver process is here.