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Online Insurance Exchanges Attract More Than $1 Billion in Grants

Recent federal investments in state health insurance exchanges bring total grant funding to more than $1 billion. Needed next: strong security.

Even while the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its provision to establish state health insurance exchanges (HIXs) await a Supreme Court decision, the federal government is pressing ahead, recently announcing that it will distribute more than $181 million to six states to establish their exchanges. This brings the total spent on exchange-related grants provided to states to more than $1 billion over the last two years.

In a statement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington will receive the grants to build these exchanges. Health insurance exchanges are websites where consumers and small businesses in each state can compare prices and choose a private health insurance plan to suit their needs.

According to HHS figures, in 2010, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and 4 territories received exchange planning grants totaling more than $54 million; in 2011, seven states received more than $249 million in Early Innovator grants. Also in 2011, 33 states and the District of Columbia received more than $667 million in establishment grants. With the announcement of an additional $181 million and one additional state awardee (South Dakota will receive its first establishment grant), the total establishment grants now exceed $1 billion.

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Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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