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State gets one million planning grant from feds

FRANKFORT, KY (Oct. 19, 2010) - The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Office of Health Policy has received a $1 million grant from the federal government to assist CHFS, the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet and the Department of Insurance with the cost of evaluating the health insurance market and developing plans to prepare for the operation of a state health insurance exchange. If the state determines it will operate an exchange, the grant will aid in funding planning activities for the development. 

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance exchanges are required by 2014, and will serve as a new competitive consumer center marketplace where individuals and small employers may purchase health insurance.

“CHFS and the Public Protection Cabinet, under the direction of Secretary Robert Vance and Commissioner Sharon Clark, are developing a plan to determine the infrastructure needed to examine the insurance marketplace and evaluate the technology solutions necessary to support a one-stop shopping opportunity to purchase health insurance,” said CHFS Secretary Janie Miller. “Exchanges are designed to help individuals and small employers compare plans and identify options that best suit their needs.”

Health insurance exchanges are envisioned to help the public compare health benefits by providing access to bargaining power comparable to that of established larger groups and giving consumers more choices. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award, part of nearly $49 million in grant funding given to 48 states and the District of Columbia.

The grant will fund:

Assessing current information technology systems and infrastructure and determining new requirements.

Developing partnerships with community organizations to gain public input into the exchange planning process.

Conducting background research and analysis on the health insurance market in Kentucky and in uninsured populations.

Examining governance and operational structures for an exchange.

Reviewing any regulatory and statutory changes needed to implement an exchange.

Planning the coordination of eligibility and enrollment systems across Medicaid, the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) and the exchanges.

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