News Release

Date Posted

Federal Grant Helps Bring Affordable Health Insurance to Millions of Californians

California Health Benefit Exchange to Begin Coverage in 2014

SACRAMENTO – A federal grant awarded today to the California Health Benefit Exchange (the Exchange) marks a significant step in delivering on the promise of health care reform and providing affordable health insurance options to millions of Californians.

“We are delighted with the federal government's faith in the work we have done since the award of the first grant a year ago,” said Diana Dooley, California Health and Human Services Secretary and Chair of the California Health Benefit Exchange. “We’re committed to implementing health care reform, and today’s award reflects the strong partnership we have with the federal government. These funds will be used to develop the backbone of a new health care system - one that promises coverage to millions of Californians who, for a variety of reasons including cost, currently go without it.”

The $196 million grant provides funding for the Exchange to continue its start-up, planning and development activities through June 30, 2013. This work will include the design of the California Healthcare Eligibility, Enrollment and Retention System (CalHEERS), outreach and marketing to educate Californians and small businesses in the state about the marketplace and beginning the Exchange’s selection of affordable health plans.

“These funds will allow California to continue preparations to enable and support eligible Californians to enroll into public and private health insurance programs in 2014,” said Peter V. Lee, Executive Director of the California Health Benefit Exchange. “We have worked hard to put together a plan that could not only garner the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but which reflects the needs of Californians and the input of hundreds of stakeholders who understand our State and the importance of getting this right.”

The Exchange is making significant progress in the development and implementation of the programs to serve Californians and small businesses. These new systems and support services are needed to connect millions of Californians with quality and affordable health coverage.

The Exchange has been engaged in accelerated planning and development activities since its first $39 million Exchange Establishment grant award in 2011 and has met, and in many cases exceeded, the objectives and tasks identified in that work plan.

About the Exchange

California was the first state to create a health benefit exchange following the passage of federal health care reform. It is charged with creating a new insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health plans using federal tax subsidies and credits beginning in 2014.

The Exchange is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and Legislature; the California Health and Human Services Secretary serves as an ex officio voting member and is its current Chair.

For more information on the Exchange, including its meeting calendar, visit