California awarded $674M to build health exchange

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm •  Published: January 17, 2013
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been awarded a $674 million federal grant to continue developing and building an online insurance marketplace under the federal health care reform law, state officials announced Thursday.

The state is receiving substantial support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the effort to aid millions of uninsured Californians, said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state entity in charge of the exchange.

"This is a very big deal ... but it's a very big job," he said.

Starting later this year, Covered California will launch a website where individuals and small businesses can compare and enroll in health plans. Some will be eligible for federal subsidies and credits to make coverage affordable.

Coverage will begin in 2014.

Lee said the latest federal grant will enable California to create the website, launch a multi-cultural, multi-language marketing campaign, and staff call centers where people can get help.