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Oregon Gets $48M Health Exchange Grant

Oregon is one of seven states awarded “Early Innovator” grants to  design and implement the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure needed to operate Health Insurance Exchanges as part of the Affordable Health Care Act.   The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 16, 2011 announced the award of seven cooperative agreements totaling $241 million to help a group of “Early Innovator” states.  These states are leading the way on building a better health insurance marketplace, one that allows individuals and small-business owners to pool their purchasing power to negotiate lower rates.  Using these new funds, the Early Innovator states will develop Exchange IT models that can be adopted and tailored by other states.

Starting in 2014, Exchanges will help individuals and small employers shop for, select, and enroll in high-quality, affordable private health plans that fit their individual needs at competitive prices.  By providing a place for one-stop shopping, Exchanges will make purchasing health insurance easier and more understandable. 

The Oregon Health Authority is using commercially available, off-the-shelf software to create the Exchange. The Exchange Early Information Technology Innovation Grant will help Oregon create a modular, reusable IT solution that will provide the Exchange’s customers with seamless access to information, financial assistance and easy health insurance enrollment, with no gaps in coverage or assistance cliffs for anyone up to 400% of the federal poverty level. The OHA estimates that 516,000 Medicaid clients and 277,000 commercial insurance consumers will use the Health Insurance Exchange to shop for and enroll in health coverage.

The other grantees include Kansas, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin, and a multi-state consortium led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. They represent different regions of the country, as well as different Exchange governance structures and Information Systems.  The grantees offer a diversity that will be valuable to all states as they work to set up their Exchanges. This diversity will help ensure that a wide range of IT models are developed, and every state will benefit.  Read more 

Source:  US Department of Health and Human Services,  New Release – Feb 16, 2011 



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