Nearly a dozen states will share $1.5 billion in federal money to help build state insurance exchanges, a new marketplace created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will give millions of Americans access to health insurance by October.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the grants Thursday, just days after announcing that the department will overlook the January deadline for states to determine whether they will set up their own insurance exchange.
This is an effort to woo more states away from having the federal government set up and run an exchange. There remains, however, the February 15 deadline for states to decide if they will partner with the federal government to run the exchanges.
In a statement, Sebelius said, "These states are working to implement the health care law and we continue to support them as they build new affordable insurance marketplaces. Starting in 2014, Americans in all states will have access to quality, affordable health insurance and these grants are helping to make that a reality."
Six states will receive Level One Exchange Establishment Grants; North Carolina stands to get the largest share:
Most of the states receiving a Level One grant, which is money awarded for one year, will spend it on consumer education and awareness, including in-person assistance programs.