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HHS Awards Seven States Health Insurance Exchange Development Grants

The "Early Innovator" grants are meant to help states design and implement infrastructure for healthcare-reform mandated exchanges.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded seven grants to states for the design and implementation of IT infrastructure for health insurance exchanges prescribed by the Affordable Care Act.

The seven recipients are the Kansas Insurance Department, which gets $31,537,465; the Maryland Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene, receiving $6,227,454; the New York Department of Health, gaining $27,431,432; the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, awarded $54,582,269; the Oregon Health Authority, which gets $48,096,307, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which recieves $37,757,266. In addition, a consortium of New England states yields a grant of $35,591,333 to the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Grants are meant to help develop the building blocks for exchange IT systems, providing models for how they can be created, HHS says. The hope is that these will help states establish their exchanges quickly and efficiently using these states' solutions as models.

States can still develop an exchange that best meets the needs of their unique health insurance market without having to start from scratch, HHS adds.

The grantees represent different regions of the country, as well as different exchange governance structures and information systems, to ensure that a wide range of IT models are developed, the agency says.

“Early Innovator states will play a critical role in developing a consumer-friendly marketplace where insurers must compete to deliver the best deal,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says in a statement. “These grants ensure that consumers in every state will be able to easily navigate their way through health insurance options.”

The grant program was announced last October.

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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