As part of the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congress created the State Health Access Grant Program. On a competitive basis, states may receive grants of $2 million to $10 million each year for five years to improve access to health insurance coverage. Grant funds will help cover the cost of staff, actuarial work, etc. to design and implement major state-based reforms.

The grant funds should help a dozen or more states jump start reforms such as (1) subsidizing access for the uninsured, (2) modernize inefficient enrollment systems, and (3) facilitating choice of affordable insurance products in the market.

The new program is a great opportunity for health care businesses, such as health plans, to partners with states. States must cover up with 20% match for the grants but some or all of the matching dollars may come from third parties, including health plans, provider groups, or drug manufacturers.

My friends at Sellers Dorsey have developed an excellent summary of the State Health Access Grant Program.

The State Health Access Grant Program is the brainchild of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D, WI) and builds off the earlier State Health Planning Grant Program. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will administer the grant program.