The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a total of $181 million in grants to assist six states in establishing health insurance exchanges under authority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The new awardees are Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington. That brings the total to 34 states and Washington, D.C. having received “Establishment” grants for an exchange.

Forty-nine states and D.C. previously received planning grants of around $1 million each, and seven states in 2011 split $249 million in “early innovator” grants to serve as models for other states.

HHS also has issued an “Executive Blueprint,” which is guidance for how the exchanges will work either standalone or in partnership with the federal government, available here.

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