HHS awards $71 million to help states expand health coverage

HHS has awarded $70.9 million in grants to 13 states in an effort to help those states expand healthcare coverage for their uninsured citizens.

The grants are paid for by the new State Health Access Program, which builds on a previous program that was in operation from 2000 to 2007. The program, State Planning Grants, "allowed many states to develop innovative plans that increased health insurance coverage for their uninsured residents," according to an HHS statement.

The grants will be made over a period of five years. Each state must provide a 20 percent funding match, unless it can show a financial hardship. The states also must show that they can sustain the program financially after the federal funds peter out. Finally, the states must report to Congress on the impact and results of the projects they undertake at the end of the five-year grant period.

To learn more about the grants:
- read this HHS press release