Washington gets $23m for health insurance exchange

Washington has received a $23 million federal grant to create a new health insurance exchange through the state’s Health Care Authority plan. The health insurance exchange is a key component of federal health care reform and builds on a series of recent legislative and funding moves designed to create a comprehensive response to health care in the state.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance exchanges must be operational by January 1, 2014. The state will use the funding to develop options and recommendations on policy decisions that will have an impact on the exchange. It will also be used to build a detailed and comprehensive operational plan, develop an IT system that facilitates critical exchange functions and information transfers among individuals, employers, insurance carriers, and state and federal government agencies.

Washington has been proactive in creating a state directed response to health care that meets the requirements of federal health care reform while taking a localized approach how services are managed and delivered to state residents. Recent initiatives have included plans to integrate Medicare and Medicaid as well as a move toward outcome based health plans.

“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,” Governor Gregoire said.

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