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Applications Due Today For Federal-State Partnership On Health Benefits Exchange

By Kendra Ablaza, Staff Writer

February 15, 2013 - Today marks the deadline for states to apply for a federal-state supported health insurance marketplace under President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

States interested in a partnership must submit their applications to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Under the ACA, states have three options in establishing their health benefits exchange: they may operate their own; partner with the federal government; or have an exchange that is federally facilitated. California is one of 17 states that received federal grants to establish and manage their own exchanges.

California received a more than $673 million federal grant in January to support its health benefits exchange as mandated by the act. Under the ACA, 11 states—California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont—received $1.5 billion in grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month.

Enrollment for California’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California, begins October 1. The marketplace, which takes effect January 2014, offers easier access to health insurance for individuals and small businesses, financial support to qualifying parties and more consumer protection, according to Covered California’s website. For more information, visit coveredca.com.