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MNsure gets $41 million federal grant for improvements and operations

The newest grant brings the total amount of federal awards to roughly $150 million for Minnesota’s fledgling insurance marketplace.

MNsure received $41 million in expected aid to fund its operations through 2014 from the U.S. Department of Human Services, the state’s health exchange announced on Thursday.

The newest grant, which the exchange applied for in August, brings the total amount of federal awards to roughly $150 million for Minnesota’s fledgling insurance marketplace.

The new funding will provide for IT infrastructure, security training and system improvements, and ongoing operations through 2014, according to a MNsure statement.

“These funds will allow MNsure to continue to operate and offer Minnesotans high quality health insurance at the lowest rates in the country,” exchange Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov said in the statement.

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Exchange spokeswoman Jenni Bowring-McDonough said MNsure expected to receive the funding.

MNsure has received at least five rounds of federal grants before this one, according to an August presentation to the exchange’s governing board. The grants, beginning in 2011, were for $1 million, $4.2 million, $23.3 million, $42.5 million, $39.3 million and now $41 million.

The original August grant application asked for $45 million, but the exchange received $41 million in this round of federal funds, Bowring-McDonough said.

The $4 million “gap” was a result of reductions in the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services budget, she said. It’s unclear how the lower amount will affect MNsure’s operations moving forward, but the exchange must give the Feds a revised budget narrative to reflect the final amount within 30 days.

“We are still evaluating that because this grant was just awarded to us,” Bowring-McDonough said.

The August report details a $55 million grant request, including $45.2 million for the “level 2” grant and $9.8 million labeled “Medicaid.”