More than $8-million of federal grant money will go to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services to support health insurance marketplaces.

Delaware legislators say thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers and small businesses will have access to marketplaces in 2014. The marketplaces are designed to help provide access to affordable private health insurance. Such choices are supposedly similar to what members of Congress have access to.

"As a result of the Affordable Care Act, individuals and small businesses in Delaware will gain the same purchasing power as large companies, and be able to compare, shop for, and choose insurance plans in an online marketplace that best meets both their health and financial needs," said Sen. Tom Carper, De-Del.

Delaware consumers will be able to buy insurance from qualified health through these marketplaces that not only offer consumers more choices but promote competition among insurance providers.

"By moving toward a health insurance system that harnesses the power of market forces and competition to drive down costs, we lower costs for everyone and improve access to lifesaving health care. This grant award will help Delaware set up this marketplace so that ultimately Delawareans begin to see better health outcomes for less money."

According to DHSS, they'll use the Exchange Establishment Grant award to review policy options for lower income Delawareans so that they will be covered.

"This grant will allow us to build the infrastructure for the Exchange so we can begin enrolling uninsured Delawareans in October," said DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf.

It's projected that nearly 100,000 Delawareans are currently uninsured, but with subsidized commercial health insurance now available through the Exchange, many people who are currently uninsured will have access to affordable health coverage. This is also possible thanks to the expansion of Medicaid as well.

"With this grant, we will be able to reach out to the 35,000 consumers who we expect to participate in the insurance marketplace, and also allow a seamless integration with our existing Medicaid program," added Landgraf.

"This is an essential step in supporting our efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act," said Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del.

Gov. Markell also shared how it will help the state overall. "Delaware's State Partnership Health Insurance Exchange will allow us to address the needs of health care consumers, including small businesses, and providers in a fiscally responsible way as we work together to ensure access to quality affordable health care for uninsured Delawareans," added Markell.

Delaware will begin enrolling clients in its health insurance exchange in October for coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2014.

"We appreciate the continued support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Delaware congressional delegation in securing this grant," said Markell.