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February 2011 St@teside

HHS Awards Early Innovator Grants to Seven States

On February 16, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award of grants to help states implement the information technology (IT) infrastructure needed to operate health insurance exchanges. Six states and a multi-state consortium of New England states have received the grants. 

The grants were awarded to states that demonstrated they have begun planning to establish an exchange, as well as their commitment to develop IT exchange models that can provide building blocks for other states. States will use the grants to develop a consumer-friendly IT infrastructure that improves consumers’ abilities to make informed choices and supports states’ efforts to improve eligibility and enrollment systems. The IT system will also handle premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for eligible consumers. It must be interoperable and integrated with state Medicaid programs to allow consumers to easily switch from private insurance to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program as their eligibility changes. Finally, the IT systems must be able to provide data to HHS or other federal agencies as needed.

Because the grantees are from different geographical regions with varying exchange governance structures and information systems, HHS believes that this diversity will ensure that a wide variety of IT models are developed, which in turn will provide a broad range of models for other states to follow.

Approximately $241 million was awarded in Early Innovator grant funds to the following states:

  • Kansas: Kansas Insurance Department, $31,537,465
  • Maryland: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, $6,227,454
  • Multi-State Consortium: University of Massachusetts Medical School, $35,591,333
  • New York: New York Department of Health, $27,431,432
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma Health Care Authority, $54,582,269
  • Oregon: Oregon Health Authority, $48,096,307
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin Department of Health Services, $37,757,266

For more information, including a summary of state proposals, see the fact sheet from [1] as well as the news release from the CMS. [2]

[1] (2011, February 16). States Leading the Way on Implementation: HHS Awards “Early Innovator” Grants to Seven States. [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from

[2] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  (2011, February 16). States Leading the Way on Implementation: HHS Awards “Early Innovator” Grants to Seven States. [News Release]. Retrieved February 22, 2011 from