N.H. receives $1m for health exchanges

New Hampshire is set to receive a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to aid in its preparations to set up a health insurance exchange through the Patient Affordable Care Act.According to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office, the grant, to be awarded in the current fiscal year, will help the Granite State conduct research and planning on exchange design and operation.Consumers whose employers do not offer health insurance as well as small businesses will be able to purchase a plan through a state-based insurance marketplace, or exchange.According to the federal department’s Web site, exchanges will be created in each state with the goal of making it easier for consumers and businesses to purchase insurance as a “one-stop shop” and lowering costs by “competition among private insurance plans through greater comparative shopping and more informed consumers.” The HHS Web site also notes that exchanges will “provide small businesses the same purchasing power in exchanges as large businesses.”Shaheen said in statement that a health insurance exchange “will allow the people of New Hampshire to compare different plans’ benefits, pricing and quality.” She said the “will help finance the research and planning needed to build a successful exchange in New Hampshire.”Exchanges are required to be up and running beginning in 2014. – CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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