Washington, D.C. —
Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced a $6.8 million Level One Exchange Establishment Grant for the Iowa Department of Public Health to aid in building a new insurance marketplace to promote competition among insurance providers and give small businesses and individual purchasers more choices.
“Iowans are now just a year away from having unprecedented access to an array of affordable, quality health insurance options through the new insurance marketplace that this grant supports. Choosing a health insurance plan can be a complicated process, but the marketplace will make that decision easier and more affordable for small businesses and families who want the ability to shop around and choose the benefits and premiums that are right for them. I’m pleased to see that Iowa is making progress toward that goal, and I will be watching closely to make sure that every American has access to these new marketplaces, so they are empowered to take control of their health care choices,” 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.