On Thursday, HHS announced that it has distributed establishment grants to California and seven other states to create health insurance exchanges under the federal health reform law, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/23).
The establishment grants are intended to help states that are further along in their exchange planning, according to HHS (Gantz, Washington Business Journal, 8/23).
Including planning and development grants, HHS has awarded a total of $1.9 billion to 49 states, the District of Columbia and four territories for their exchanges, according to U-T San Diego (Lavelle, U-T San Diego, 8/23).
Background on California Exchange
The California Health Benefit Exchange primarily will serve individuals and small businesses.
An estimated 4.4 million California residents are expected to use the exchange by the end of 2016.
Officials plan to open registration for the exchange in October 2013 (California Healthline, 8/3).
Details of California Grant
California received a $196 million establishment grant from HHS (U-T San Diego, 8/23). It is the third federal grant given to support the state's exchange (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/23).
California expects the grant to cover operating expenses through June while the state takes steps to prepare for the exchange's launch in 2014, including:
- Creating enrollment policies;
- Deploying an outreach program; and
- Selecting participating health plans (U-T San Diego, 8/23).
Other Grant Recipients
The other seven states that received grants are:
- New York; and
- Vermont ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/23).