The Department of Health and Human Services awarded grants totaling $49 million to 48 states and the District of Columbia to help establish Health Insurance Exchanges. The Affordable Care Act requires each state to establish an Exchange by 2014 to help individuals and small businesses purchase affordable insurance coverage that includes essential benefits. The grants will allow states to undertake research and planning activities to establish exchanges, including evaluating information technology needs, building community partnerships, hiring key staff, and developing monitoring and evaluation processes. Exchanges must be self-sustaining by January 1, 2015. More information about Health Insurance Exchanges is available through the federal health reform website and in the AG Health Reform legislation summary.