Healthcare.gov Health Care Blog - Just as different people have different health care needs, so does each State. In order to meet different health care demands, today we are announcing our plans to give States across the country additional flexibility and resources to implement the health care law to best meet the needs of their citizens.
The law gives States the freedom to design Affordable Insurance Exchanges– one-stop marketplaces where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan that fits their health needs and have the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress. More than half the States are well on their way to creating Exchanges while others are making steady progress.
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly $220 million in grants to 13 States to help them create these Exchanges. States receiving resources include:
And thanks to the steps we are taking today, States will have even more flexibility when setting up their Affordable Insurance Exchange. For example, States that run Exchanges have more options than originally proposed when it comes to determining eligibility for tax credits and Medicaid. And States have more time to apply for "Level One" Exchange grants.
Exchanges will give consumers and small businesses more choices and make it easy to compare and shop for insurance plans. Just as Americans can now shop on the Web for the best deal in hotels, airfare, appliances, and the like, Exchanges will provide new easy-to-understand information about the benefits and costs of plans available to consumers in the State. This transparency will also create greater competition between health insurers, helping to drive costs down.
States are taking a thoughtful approach to creating Exchanges that fit the consumers and markets in their regions. That's why we have also extended the time for States to apply for funding until June 29, 2012. We have also released resources with information that States need to know.