Massachusetts insurance regulations are seeking applications from entities that want to help run a new type of nonprofit health insurer.

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance has described the application process and time lines for organizations that want to be Qualified Associations or Certified Group Purchasing Cooperatives in Massachusetts Division of Insurance Bulletin 2011-11.

Massachusetts recently adopted laws that permit small businesses and individuals to pool their purchasing power by joining together to buy health coverage. Other states have had health coverage buying groups for years, but the cooperative buying system is new in Massachusetts.

An entity that wants to act as a group purchasing cooperative in the state must first be approved as being a qualified association, officials say.

An association that wants to buy health coverage for its members can apply for approval as an association at any time, but it must apply for certification as a group purchasing cooperative from Aug. 1, 2011, through Aug. 15, 2011.

- Allison Bell

Other CO-OP coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health: