U.S. Markets close in 1 hr 23 mins

Hawaii insurance exchange gets $130M federal grant

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii's insurance exchange is getting a federal grant worth nearly $130 million to set up a call center and customer assistance program.

Hawaii Health Connector said Monday the money will also pay for general maintenance and the exchange's operations through December 2014.

Hawaii set up the exchange as part of the Obama administration's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.

The exchange is designed to provide insurance coverage to middle-class households who currently can't get their own. Individuals and small businesses may use it to select a private health plan.

It will start signing up customers on Oct. 1 for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie says the grant will help inform people about the exchange and how it will provide greater access to health care coverage.