Washington health exchange $27M federal grant for IT improvements; exchange wanted $42M

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SEATTLE — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is getting $27 million from the federal government to improve its customer web site.

The exchange had asked for $42 million but health officials say they'll do their best to meet their goals with less money.

The grant will be used to make Washington Healthplanfinder more stable and easier to use and add some functions, including new ways to search for doctors and adult dental coverage.

During a meeting Tuesday of the state board that manages the exchange, health officials said they will have to skip some of the "bells and whistles" they were planning to add and they will not be able to afford as much consultant help. They say their top priority remains making the website stable and offering a good customer experience.

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