House Farm Bill Supports AHPs with Federal Grants—Following in the Footsteps of the ACA’s CO-OP Program

The Farm Bill currently being debated in a House-Senate conference committee enables the Secretary of Agriculture to create a loan and grant program to assist in the establishment of agricultural association health plans (AHPs). The bill’s injection of federal funding for the purpose of creating new health insurance options is strikingly reminiscent of the ACA’s CO-OP Program. As Congress considers directing federal dollars into AHPs, we look back at the experience of the CO-OP program, which demonstrates just how difficult it is to build a new insurance company. Continue reading

Maryland CO-OP Health Plan Becomes a For-Profit Company

Just hours before President Trump took the oath of office, the Maryland health insurance CO-OP Evergreen Health officially closed a deal with the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) to sever its ties with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) CO-OP program. The company will now transition from a nonprofit to a for-profit company, allowing it to gain an infusion of financing from outside investors. Executives credited the deal with enabling Evergreen to survive and stay competitive. However, it also provides insight into the immense challenges involved in starting up a new insurance company in the current market, even with federal financing. Continue reading

State Legislators Conduct Post-Mortem on Affordable Care Act CO-OPs and Plot Next Steps

State insurance legislators held their national meeting in Portland, Oregon last week, and the demise of 16 health insurance CO-OPs created under the Affordable Care Act was high on the agenda. CHIR’s own Sabrina Corlette was invited to provide legislators with testimony about the CO-OP program’s troubles. Key takeaways from the meeting – and next steps for state policymakers – are provided here. Continue reading