The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is awarding 13 states as well as Washington D.C. a total of $185 million to help to fund the planning and creation of the state-based insurance exchanges that are required by the federal healthcare overhaul.
Each will receive a different amount as their portion of the total. For example, California will receive $38 million in order to create its exchange.
The governors of the recipient states received a letter from secretary Kathleen Sebelius of HHS, which described the various options and resources that are available to them in order to create their exchanges.
The HHS followed up their announcement of funding with one they made with the Department of Treasury, which offered proposed regulations that would describe the eligibility and tax credits that would be available for the insurance exchanges.
The three rules for the draft of the exchange plans are:
• Small businesses and individuals access to health insurance coverage – Small businesses will be capable of offering several different healthcare coverage options to their employees and may also qualify for tax credits. Individuals will be able to purchase high-quality health plans and that if they qualify, they can obtain financial assistance through cost-sharing programs and tax credits.
• Tax credit for health insurance premiums – Both families and individuals will be able to offset the cost of their health insurance by receiving tax credits, which the HHS believes will be helpful in widening health coverage across millions of additional Americans.
• Eligibility for Medicaid – The Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid will both be coordinated with enrollment in the exchange, in order to decrease the administrative burden within the states through a more streamlined process.