Maine is one of 13 states receiving grants to help establish health insurances exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today.

The Maine Dirigo Health Agency will receive nearly $6 million to help design the state’s exchange and  continue consultations with consumer groups and insurance plans. It will also use the funding to study the integration of Medicaid eligibility systems with exchange eligibility systems, collect and analyze data, and develop consumer assistance programs.

Exchanges are one-stop marketplaces where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan. States are required to have them in place in 2014. Nearly $220 million was awarded to states today to help develop the exchanges, according to DHHS.

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