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Washington state receives $23 million grant to develop and design new insurance exchange

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2011

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced that Washington state is the recipient of a new federal grant worth nearly $23 million to help the Health Care Authority plan, develop and design the state’s new insurance exchange – a key pillar of national health care reform.

“The insurance exchange will be the new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses, letting them find comprehensive, affordable coverage for families and employees,” Gregoire said. “Together with state legislation that was just signed establishing the exchange, this grant allows us to evaluate policy issues and actually begin the work of building the exchange.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance exchanges must be operational by January 1, 2014.

When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, the exchanges will function as a one-stop shop, letting customers find and compare affordable, high-quality, private health insurance options, the same options that members of Congress will have.

“The Exchange Establishment grant will help ensure Washington has the resources and the flexibility it needs to establish the Washington Health Benefits Exchange, and ensure Washington’s families are no longer on their own when shopping for insurance,” Gregoire said.

This funding will allow HCA to develop options and recommendations on policy decisions that will have a significant impact on the exchange. It will also provide funds to build a detailed and comprehensive operational plan to create a structured entity capable of meeting business functions of the exchange.

A substantial portion of the funding will be used to develop an IT system that facilitates critical exchange functions, such as eligibility, enrollment, and information transfers among individuals, employers, insurance carriers, and state and federal government agencies.

The Exchange Establishment funding announcement can be found at www.Grants.gov by searching for CFDA number 93.525. More information can be found at www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets .