Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a Level Two Establishment Grant for $73 million to the District’s Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) for the continued development of the District’s Health Benefit Exchange (HBX). The multi-year grant is awarded to states further along in building their Exchanges. The Level Two Grant funding will be used to develop the IT infrastructure, operations, education, and outreach activities to support the required functions of the District’s Exchange.
The District’s Exchange will be a marketplace for individuals, families, and small businesses to compare and purchase qualified health insurance, determine eligibility for and enroll in public health insurance plans, and access federal tax credits.
“The District has been at the vanguard in terms of implementing health care reform. The $73 million grant award demonstrates our significant progress towards the implementation of a health benefit exchange, as required by the federal Affordable Care Act, and will provide us with the resources necessary to bring quality, affordable health care insurance to District residents,” said Mayor Gray. “The fact that we received this third grant is a clear indicator that we have been on the right path as we move towards full implementation.”
The Level Two Establishment Grant is the third federal grant that the District has received to fund Exchange planning and implementation. In 2011, the District received a Planning Grant for nearly $1 million followed by an $8.2 million Level One Exchange Establishment Grant. The award of the Level Two Establishment Grant provides funding for establishment of the District’s Health Benefit Exchange through 2014.
"I am grateful for the federal decision to award us the Level Two Grant,” said Dr. Mohammad Akhter, Chair of the District’s Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “This makes resources available for us to build a robust Health Benefit Exchange which will help us realize the goal of making affordable health care available to all District residents."
About the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law. The law puts in place comprehensive health-insurance reforms that will hold insurance companies more accountable, lower health-care costs, guarantee more health-care choices and enhance the quality of health care for all Americans. The law is intended to provide greater access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
About Health Care Reform in the District
The District has moved swiftly to implement the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA. PPACA requires each state and the District to establish a benefit exchange to provide a health-insurance marketplace where residents can compare and purchase health insurance. The District has chosen to establish a quasi-governmental entity to operate its Exchange.
The District’s Health Benefit Exchange Authority was created by DC Council legislation under the Health Benefit Exchange Authority Establishment Act of 2011 (DC L19-0094). The purpose of the law is “to establish the Health Benefit Exchange Authority and its functions and duties, to provide for the appointment of executive and advisory boards to the Health Benefit Exchange Authority, to establish the powers and duties of the executive board, to include conflict of interest provisions for and limit the liability of the executive and advisory boards, to establish the minimum criteria for the certification of health benefit plans as qualified health plans, to require the executive board to report to the Council, Mayor, and public regarding the operation of the Health Benefit Exchange Authority, and to require the Health Benefit Exchange Authority to submit rules for Council review.”
For more information on health-care reform implementation in the District, please visit www.healthreform.dc.gov.