Today, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf, along with Delaware's Congressional Delegation of U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Representative John Carney (all D-Del.) announced a $8,536,543 Exchange Establishment Grant award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.
DHSS will use this grant to support the review of qualified health plan applications and to analyze additional policy options for ensuring continuity of care and coverage for lower income Delawareans. The project will also support the implementation of the Marketplace Assister program and outreach and education campaign, as well as monitoring of federally-selected Navigators. With approximately 100,000 Delawareans currently uninsured, the expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidized commercial health insurance through the Exchange should provide many of those who are currently uninsured with access to affordable health coverage.
"This is an essential step in supporting our efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act," Governor Jack Markell said. "Delaware's State Partnership Health Insurance Exchange will allow us to address the needs of health care consumers, including small businesses, and providers in a fiscally responsible way as we work together to ensure access to quality affordable health care for uninsured Delawareans. We appreciate the continued support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Delaware congressional delegation in securing this grant."
"This grant will allow us to build the infrastructure for the Exchange so we can begin enrolling uninsured Delawareans in October," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "Providing that access is one of the key goals of the Affordable Care Act. With this grant, we will be able to reach out to the 35,000 consumers who we expect to participate in the insurance marketplace, and also allow a seamless integration with our existing Medicaid program."
Because of the Affordable Care Act, consumers and small businesses will have access to marketplaces starting in 2014. The marketplaces are one-stop shops that will provide access to quality, affordable private health insurance choices similar to those offered to members of Congress. Consumers in every state will be able to buy insurance from qualified health plans directly through these marketplaces and may be eligible for tax credits to help pay for their health insurance. These marketplaces promote competition among insurance providers and offer consumers more choices.
"As a result of the Affordable Care Act, individuals and small businesses in Delaware will gain the same purchasing power as large companies, and be able to compare, shop for, and choose insurance plans in an online marketplace that best meets both their health and financial needs," said Sen. Carper. "By moving toward a health insurance system that harnesses the power of market forces and competition to drive down costs, we lower costs for everyone and improve access to lifesaving health care. This grant award will help Delaware set up this marketplace so that ultimately Delawareans begin to see better health outcomes for less money."
"The Exchange Establishment Grant marks a major step in expanding access to affordable health care to all Delawareans," Sen. Coons said. "Health insurance shouldn't be one size fits all, and the Affordable Care Act empowers individuals and small businesses to make health insurance choices that are right for their needs. Health insurance reform is a central part of not only our economic recovery but of our long-term economic growth."
"The health insurance exchanges are a critical step to ensuring every Delawarean has access to quality, affordable healthcare," said Congressman Carney. "These grants make it possible for individuals and small businesses in Delaware to connect with the plans that meet their needs. Delaware has been a national leader in this process, and I look forward to thousands of Delawareans getting the care they deserve when these exchanges go live in 2014."
In total, $1.5 billion in new Exchange Establishment Grants were awarded to California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Vermont to ensure these states have the resources necessary to build a marketplace that meets the needs of their residents. Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Vermont received awards today for Level One Exchange Establishment Grants, which are one-year grants states will use to build marketplaces. A total of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have received grants to plan their marketplaces, and 34 states and the District of Columbia have received grants to build their marketplaces.
Delaware will begin enrolling clients in its health insurance exchange in October for coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2014. Through the State Departments of Health and Social Services and Insurance and the Delaware Health Care Commission, Delaware pursued a State Partnership Exchange instead of a state-based exchange because of Delaware's small population and costs associated with a state-based exchange. Delaware expects to serve about 35,000 people through the Exchange. The state will retain control of plan management, including state requirements for qualified health plans, as well as the consumer assistance function.
To stay updated on Delaware's exchange activities, visit the Delaware Health Care Commission website at http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dhcc.
For more information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace.