The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan program is one of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) programs that will move ahead as a result of the new Supreme Court decision upholding PPACA.
The court ruled 5-4 Thursday in NFIB vs. Sebelius that Congress does have a constitutional right to impose a tax on individuals who fail to buy health insurance and that opponents of the law cannot use concerns about the provision to block implementation of the law as a whole.
PPACA drafters came up with the CO-OP provisions in an effort to offer individuals and small businesses more affordable, consumer-friendly health insurance options in states where one or two carriers dominate the individual and small group markets.
Congress has appropriated $3.4 billion in CO-OP loan funding. Organizers can use the loans to start nonprofit, member-owned health insurers that will sell health coverage to individuals, small groups or both through the new health insurance exchanges, or Web-based insurance supermarkets, that are supposed to start up in 2014.
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that it has awarded a $59 million CO-OP loan to the Kentucky Health Care Cooperative and a $34 million CO-OP loan to the Vermont Health CO-OP, which is incorporated as the Consumer Health Coalition of Vermont.
Earlier in the month, the department awarded CO-OP loans to Arizona and Connecticut.