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Health Insurance Exchanges Getting More Federal Funding

States will have 10 new opportunities through 2014 to apply for federal funding to develop the online marketplaces for health insurance outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

States will have 10 new opportunities to apply for federal funding to develop the health insurance exchanges outlined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Friday, June 29.

The department set 10 deadlines for states to apply for Level I and Level II establishment grants: Aug. 15, 2012; Nov. 15, 2012; Feb. 15, 2013; May 15, 2013; Aug. 15, 2013; Nov. 15, 2013; Feb. 14, 2014; May 15, 2014; Aug. 15, 2014; and Oct. 15, 2014. All exchange grants will be awarded by Dec. 14, 2014, near the end of the first year that exchanges will have been in operation, HHS said.

Mike Hash, interim director of the HHS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, declined in a conference call to estimate how much total money would be available to states through the announced funding opportunities.

The Obama administration has already awarded more than $850 million to 34 states to establish an exchange. HHS has set a November 2012 deadline for states to submit their applications for a state-run exchange, which will begin enrolling customers in October 2013. States that decide not to develop a state exchange can either enter a partnership model with HHS or have the feds run the exchange in its entirety.

The department also released guidance explaining Friday the establishment grants could be used to fund state planning toward any of the three exchange models.

HHS wasted no time in reaching out to states about exchange planning after the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday to uphold the ACA.

“The federal government and our state partners are moving forward to implement the health care law,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “This new funding opportunity will give states the resources they need to establish affordable insurance exchanges and ensure Americans are no longer on their own when shopping for insurance.”

This story originally was published by

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