Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman today announced that the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange has been awarded a $107 million Federal Level-Two Establishment Grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Connecticut joins a select group of states that have received Level Two funding nationally, putting the state at the forefront of the effort to expand access to affordable healthcare. To date, only Washington, Rhode Island, Maryland, Nevada and Vermont have received Level Two Grants.
"The Affordable Care Act, which has unnecessarily become a political punching bag, has one noble, overarching goal: to expand access to more affordable healthcare to nearly every American," said Governor Malloy, who in July 2011 signed legislation enabling the establishment of the Connecticut Exchange. "Today, after a year of hard work developing our own state-based exchange, we are one step closer to that goal. This latest grant reaffirms our commitment and readiness to implementing this innovative new way for state residents and small businesses to access affordable health insurance."
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Chair of the Connecticut Exchange's Board of Directors, said, "This award acknowledges the substantial progress the exchange team has made in a very short amount of time. Building the exchange is a complex undertaking and the receipt of these funds acknowledges the federal government's confidence in Connecticut's exchange operations and outreach plan. Working together, we will have a system in place that makes sure Connecticut residents have access to quality, affordable medical care."
While prior federal grants have supported the development of exchange governance and planning, this latest grant funds the implementation of exchange operations, IT systems, and communication/outreach, including the creation of a new and simpler way for individuals, families and small businesses to enroll for coverage.
The Connecticut Exchange applied for the Level Two Grant in June after completing a lengthy application process. To date, Connecticut has received a total of $116 million in federal funds to support implementation of an exchange in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Nationwide, approximately $1 billion in federal funds have been awarded to states in the form of planning grants, establishment grants, and early innovator grants.
Connecticut Exchange CEO Kevin Counihan, who began his work at the Exchange in early July, said receiving the current funding clears the way for the organization's 14-month "sprint" to open enrollment in October 2013.
He explained, "With the receipt of this award, we have the funding to implement our IT systems and operations plan. With a great staff, the right external partners, and an engaged community of Exchange Directors, advocates and advisors from across the state, we are prepared to implement a fully-functioning state exchange."