Missouri receives $21 million grant - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Missouri receives $21 million grant to build online health insurance marketplace

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) -

Missouri has received a $21 million grant aimed at making health insurance coverage for people  and small businesses more accessible and affordable.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the grant award on Friday.

Using the grant, the state Department of Insurance and the Mo. Health Insurance Pool says it will build an online marketplace for Missouri families and businesses to compare and purchase health insurance specifically tailored to meet their needs.

Proponents say the online marketplace will improve competition and drive down costs.

Under federal law, states can create and operate their own marketplaces; if they do not by 2014, the federal government can intervene and create a marketplace run from Washington.

"We will use our department's expertise and work with a wide group of community stakeholders to invest these funds effectively and efficiently to build a robust online marketplace that meets the needs of Missouri consumers," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. "The health insurance needs of Missouri small businesses, families and individuals are too important for us to sit on the sidelines and watch as a one-size-fits-all, Washington-based system is set up in our state."

The organization receiving the grant funding is the Mo. Health Insurance Pool.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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