The federal government will provide Oregon more than $226 million over two years to support the creation of an online marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced grant awards for the marketplaces to 11 states. In Oregon, Cover Oregon is the organization creating the marketplace, which is a requirement of federal health reform.

The funding will support the testing and implementation of the website, as well as the creation of a call center to assist consumers, according to a Cover Oregon news release.

The federal Affordable Care Act mandates that all individuals must buy health insurance starting in 2014. It also offers subsidies and tax credits on a sliding income scale to help people cover the cost.

The Cover Oregon marketplace must be up and running by October. The coverage purchased there will be effective on Jan. 1, 2014.

— Heidi Hagemeier, The Bulletin