CO-OPs are directed by their members and designed to offer individuals and businesses affordable, consumer-friendly, and high-quality health insurance options. As of January 1, 2014 people who live in states with CO-OPs have the opportunity to buy personal or family health insurance coverage and small business owners were able to buy health coverage for their employees. Like other cooperative models, CO-OPs will use profits to benefit Members by lowering premiums, improving health benefits, or performing other activities to increase the stability of coverage for CO-OP members. CMS is closely monitoring CO-OPs to ensure success.
As well funded businesses designed from the ground up to ensure their Members enjoy the maximum benefits available under the Affordable Care Act, CO-OPs have been fully capitalized under the ACA with the necessary resources to deliver. They must meet the same licensure requirements as any other health insurance issuer.
For more information about CO-OPs, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/choices/co-op/index.html.
Why Do Maine and New Hampshire Need a Health Insurance CO-OP?
People and small businesses in Maine and New Hampshire currently do not have many options to purchase health insurance. This is a particularly big problem in a state like Maine where the economy is fueled by small businesses that have very little say in the health insurance market. The result is increasing numbers of people who either go without health coverage or are at risk of being without coverage. The CO-OP program allows Community Health Options to provide health insurance options for these important groups.