August 23, 2012
Harkin Announces a $26.6 Million Grant for Establishment of Iowa’s Health Insurance Exchange
WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced a $26.6 million grant to the Iowa Department of Public Health to support the establishment of a statewide Affordable Insurance Exchange, a strategy included in the Affordable Care Act to give consumers more choice in their health plans. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will give Iowa additional resources and flexibility as it moves forward in the process of building the Exchange, a one-stop marketplace which will give consumers and small businesses access to high-quality, affordable private health insurance plans starting in 2014.
“This grant is another big step toward leveling the playing field for Iowa’s families and small businesses when it comes to finding quality affordable health insurance plans. Currently, the private health insurance market is far too expensive and difficult to navigate for those who do not have health benefits through their employer. The Exchange will give everyone the opportunity to select a health plan that works for their family, their budget, and their needs,” Harkin said.
As Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Harkin played a pivotal role in the Senate passage of the health reform bill and was a chief proponent of Exchanges during the health reform debate. State-based Exchanges will allow consumers to shop for, compare, and enroll in private health plans, the same way members of Congress do. Consumers will be able to learn if they are eligible for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, or other health care programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Small employers will be eligible to receive tax credits for coverage purchased for employees through the Exchange. These competitive marketplaces make purchasing health insurance easier and more understandable and offer consumers and small businesses increased competition and choice.
To read more about Affordable Insurance Exchanges and the Affordable Care Act, visit www.healthcare.gov.