HHS just announced new competitive funding for “Early Innovator” grants so that states will be able to design and implement the information technology infrastructure needed to operate health insurance exchanges. The grants will reward states that demonstrate leadership in developing cutting-edge and cost effective consumer-based technologies to help develop the models needed for the exchanges to deal effectively and efficiently with insurance eligibility and enrollment issues.
“States are focused on implementing the health insurance exchanges because they know the exchanges will empower their citizens by forcing health insurers to compete,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “Consumer-friendly information technology is the backbone of that effort which is why we are creating an incentive for states that are willing and able to lead the way to do so.”
Although exchanges are not scheduled to launch until 2014, work is already underway to design and implement them across the country. Two year grants will be awarded by February 15, 2011, for up to five states or coalitions of states that have ambitious yet achievable proposals that will yield IT models and best practices to benefit all the states.
Additionally, all states including recipients of the awards will be eligible to apply for a future funding opportunity that will support ongoing exchange implementation. HHS expects this funding opportunity to be announced in February. 2011.
“States are developing cutting-edge innovative systems to deliver cost-effective and consumer friendly care to families and small businesses,” said Joel Ario, Director of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. “By encouraging and rewarding states for their innovation, we can build and leverage models that can be adopted and tailored by other states and generate taxpayer savings across the board.”