CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Insurance has beenawarded a $5.1 million federal grant to develop and maintain ahealth insurance exchange where consumers can shop forcoverage.

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The nation's new health care law requires the exchanges to berunning in states by 2014

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[See also: BenefitsProcoverage of health insurance exchanges]

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Insurance exchanges will allow people and small businesses tocomparison shop online for insurance. The concept has beendescribed as Travelocity for health insurance.

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The grant will help Illinois design the informationinfrastructure. It will go toward hiring staff to plan andcoordinate with consultants to create the design features.

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Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement released Tuesday that thegrant will help create a strong exchange and develop tools to makeit easy for everyone to use.

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