Health insurance options for every U.S. citizen take effect Jan. 1, 2014, under Affordable Care Act provisions. To prepare, many states governments are revamping their health care delivery systems in advance.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, seen here speaking in 2010 during APHA’s National Public Health Week, announced $300 million in awards to six states in support of impending Affordable Care Act provisions. Photo by APHA

On Feb. 21, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced “State Innovation Model” awards of nearly $300 million total to six states— Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont — for their proactive efforts in improving health systems in their communities and lowering costs in their Medicaid programs.

“As a former governor, I understand the real sense of urgency that states feel to improve the health of their populations while also reducing total health care costs, and it’s critical that the many elements of health care in each state — including Medicaid, public health and workforce training — work together,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

To qualify for the awards, state health departments submitted to HHS abstracts of health care models that would take effect in their states by ACA deadlines. The grants will allow these states to test approaches already implemented at the federal level — such as Accountable Care Organizations — and figure out which plan best serves their communities.

By the end of 2013, HHS will award 19 additional states to fund health care research and implementation. Visit the Center for Medicare & Medicaid online for more health care information.