A CO-OP in Iowa and a big insurer there are disagreeing over whether a broker who represents the insurer can serve on a CO-OP board.
The insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, says it believes health insurance brokers should stay off the boards of any health insurance companies operating in the markets they serve.
“Consumers must be able to trust their broker and know they are receiving objective advice from them,” Traci McBee, a Wellmark representative, said in a statement about the matter.
The CO-OP, CoOportunity Health, says it believes Wellmark’s move to keep a Wellmark agent off the CoOportunity board amounted to tampering in the governance of a competing domestic company. CoOportunity said it has filed a complaint over the matter with the Iowa insurance commissioner.
The drafters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) created the nonprofit, member-owned Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program in an effort to increase the level of competition in the private health insurance market. PPACA provided startup financing for CO-OP organizers.