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Mo. gets federal grant to build online health insurance exchange

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

Missouri has received a federal grant of close to $21 million to help build an online health insurance exchange.

Travis Ford, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Insurance, says federal law requires every state to have an insurance exchange up and running by 2014.

"This $21 million mainly will be used for the under-the-hood, if you will, development of the very significant technology infrastructure that needs to be in place in order to build an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop from hundreds of different health insurance plans," Ford said.

Ford says efforts to set up an insurance exchange are proceeding in Missouri in spite of state and federal legal efforts to derail it.

“The grant awards have moved along on schedule, and in Missouri there is broad bipartisan support for the establishment of a state-run marketplace, rather than one that is run from Washington,” Ford said.

A federal appeals court panel Friday struck down the provision of the federal health care act that would require most Americans to buy health insurance starting in 2014.