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CO-OPs go live, too

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Twenty-three new nonprofit, member-owned health plans opened their doors this week.

The “Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans” are out beating the bushes for enrollees. The first coverage sold will take effect in 2014.

The National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs, the plans’ trade group, said one of its member plans, Oregon’s Health CO-OP, signed its first members a few minutes after midnight Tuesday.

Most CO-OPs are emphasizing that they want to sell coverage through brokers.

In Oregon, for example, the Cover Oregon exchange enrollment website will not be up and running for a few more weeks. But Oregonians who want coverage can sign up directly through the CO-OP’s website – and through brokers.

Meritus, the Arizona CO-OP, has a broker link near the top of its home page, which leads to a broker application page. The CO-OP requires a would-be broker to fill in a national producer number, an Arizona insurance license number, a federal tax ID number, an errors and omissions carrier policy number, and the E&O policy expiration date. The broker also must upload an individual exchange and small-group exchange curriculum completion certificate along with an E&O insurance certificate.

Colorado HealthOP signed Warner Pacific as its first broker agent in May.

Louisiana Health Cooperative boasts that it offers “Real insurance for real people,” and a link at the top of its home page explains how agents and brokers can get welcome packets and appointment numbers.

A CO-OP is supposed to sell coverage through its state’s PPACA public exchange. It can serve the individual and small-group markets, and it’s also allowed some large-group customers.

Traditional for-profit or nonprofit carriers cannot own or control a CO-OP, and law forbids CO-OP managers from converting a CO-OP to for-profit status.

A CO-OP can serve more than one state, and a state can have more than one CO-OP.

CoOpportunity Health, for example, is serving both Iowa and Nebraska, and two CO-OPs are serving Oregon.

Some of the states with CO-OPs are the same states that have set up their own state-based exchanges. But some states with vigorous state-based exchange programs, including California, have no CO-OPs, and some states with governors who have been active opponents of PPACA, such as Louisiana and Wisconsin, do have them.

Vermont insurance regulators have blocked a group trying to organize a CO-OP in that state, and federal regulators have pulled the group’s startup funding.

Here’s a list of the active exchanges:

  • Arizona: Meritus.
  • Colorado: Colorado HealthOP.
  • Connecticut: HealthyCT.
  • Illinois: Land of Lincoln Health.
  • Iowa: CoOportunity Health.
  • Kentucky: Kentucky Health Cooperative Inc.
  • Louisana: Louisiana Health Cooperative Inc.
  • Maine: Maine Community Health Options.
  • Maryland: Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc.
  • Massachusetts: Minuteman Health Inc.
  • Michigan: Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan.
  • Montana: Montana Health CO-OP.
  • Nebraska: CoOportunity Health.
  • Nevada: Nevada Health CO-OP.
  • New Jersey: Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey.
  • New Mexico: New Mexico Health Connections.
  • New York: Health Republic Insurance of New York.
  • Ohio: InHealth Mutual.
  • Oregon: Oregon’s Health CO-OP and Health Republic Insurance of Oregon.
  • South Carolina: Consumers’ Choice Health Plan.
  • Tennessee: Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance.
  • Utah: Arches Health Plan.
  • Wisconsin: Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative.

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