DES MOINES - The federal government announced Thursday that it has given Iowa more than $6.8 million in federal money to help build its new health insurance exchange.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the one-year grant is the fourth it has given Iowa for this purpose.
The level one funding is used to conduct insurance market research and analysis. The state's public health department can use the money to determine what financial resources are needed for individuals, small businesses, coverage appeals and complaints.
Gov. Terry Branstad announced last month that Iowa would create a state-federal partnership exchange instead of a state-based exchange.
The exchange system is a requirement of the federal health care law.
Iowa's blueprint for the exchange must be submitted to the federal government by Feb. 15, said Michael Bousselot, a policy adviser to the governor. He said federal officials will determine whether the plan is ready as soon as March 1 and the exchange should be up and running Oct. 1.
Health officials said Iowa has now received more than $40 million in federal grants to build its exchange.
Bousselot said much of that has gone to creating a new computer system for Iowans to register and check their insurance eligibility.