To expand health insurance coverage

HHS has announced a $70.9 million grant to 13 US states to support the expansion of health care coverage for their uninsured populations.

The grants are funded under the new State Health Access Program (SHAP), an outgrowth of the agency’s State Planning Grant program that operated from 2000–2007. This program enabled many states to develop plans that increased health insurance coverage for their uninsured residents.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of HHS, said: “These grants build on the success of the earlier program. They will help more states provide affordable insurance to specific uninsured groups, such as children and seniors. The funds will also assist states in implementing new initiatives for reaching the uninsured.”

The grants, to be made over a five-year period, require a 20% match unless a state demonstrates a financial hardship. In addition, the states must show that they are able to sustain the program after federal funding has expired. The impact and results of state projects will be reported to Congress at the end of the grant period.

HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration oversees the State Health Access Program grants.