The federal government has awarded California $674 million to develop an online health insurance marketplace as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The two-year grant for the exchange known as Covered California is less than the $706 million requested. But Executive Director Peter Lee says he believes the grant will give the state all the resources it needs.
“We had a very constructive discussion about elements of the budget that they thought we might be able to do without but with a commitment that if it turns as we go and as we learn we need more resources, we may need to go back to them. We don’t think we will, we think this is robust funding with which we can be a very successful launch of our exchange,” says Lee.
The grant will be used to develop an online exchange where consumers can compare health insurance plans and apply for federal tax credits toward the cost of insurance.
It will also help pay for a multi-language education campaign and a call center to help consumers with questions about enrollment.
The exchange is expected to employ nearly 700 people by the end of this year.