CO-OPs are directed by their members and designed to offer individuals and small businesses affordable, consumer-friendly, and high-quality health insurance options. By January 1, 2014 people who live in states with CO-OPs will have the opportunity to buy personal or family health insurance coverage. Small business owners will be able to buy health coverage for their employees. Like other cooperative models, we will use profits to benefit enrollees, which could be achieved through 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 that they are meeting these goals.
CO-OPs are also well funded businesses designed from the ground up to ensure their members enjoy the maximum benefits available under the Affordable Care Act. They have been fully capitalized under the ACA to ensure they have the necessary resources to follow through and deliver. In addition, CO-OPs 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 Does Maine Need a Health Insurance CO-OP?
People and small businesses in Maine currently do not have many options regarding health insurance. This is a particularly big problem in a state like Maine where our 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 will allow Maine Community Health Options to provide health insurance options for these important groups.