Six states and a consortium of New England states will split $241 million in federal “Early Innovator” grants for developing health insurance exchanges for small businesses and individuals that could serve as national models when the programs launch in 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.
“Early Innovator states will play a critical role in developing a consumer-friendly marketplace where insurers must compete to deliver the best deal,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These grants ensure that consumers in every state will be able to easily navigate their way through health insurance options.”
Starting in 2014, health insurance exchanges are supposed to provide one-stop shopping to help individuals and small employers find affordable private health plans. HHS said Early Innovator states will develop the building blocks for Exchange IT systems, providing models for how Exchange IT systems can be created. This will help other states build their Exchanges quickly using the models and building blocks created by the Early Innovator states, without having to start from scratch.
The Early Innovator states are: