Connecticut joined five other states Monday in winning approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to move forward with plans to create a health insurance exchange.

For more than a year, Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange Board of Directors has been busy creating a quasi-public agency to run the shop that will sell health insurance. Connecticut residents and businesses will be able to purchase insurance in 2014 through the exchange, which will be a virtual marketplace where the uninsured and small businesses can shop for insurance.

The state received $116 million from the federal government to design and build the exchange.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who co-chairs the Health Insurance Exchange Board of Directors, said federal approval shows that the state has made progress in moving toward federal health reform.

“While the majority of states are still grappling with how to move forward with health reform, all Connecticut residents should be encouraged by the progress we have made on this hugely important issue,” Wyman said in a press release.

But there’s little time to celebrate, according to Insurance Exchange CEO Kevin Counihan. Enrollment is expected to begin in October 2013.

“We look forward to engaging with all of our stakeholders and partners to ensure we meet our deadlines and deliver a vibrant, effective exchange for the state,” Counihan said.