Regulations establish CO-OP loan program
HHS issued final regulations that implement the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, which will provide loans for creating consumer-governed, private, not-for-profit health insurance issuers that will offer qualified health benefits through state health insurance exchanges. HHS said the program’s goal is to establish a new CO-OP in every state to help expand the number of health plans that are available in the exchanges. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows for funding of multiple CO-OPS in any state, as long as there is sufficient funding for at least one CO-OP in each state. HHS appropriated a total of $3.8 billion for the program. The final regulations outline the eligibility standards that organizations must meet to participate in the program, and they establish terms for the loans. “While NASHCO is still reviewing the rule’s details, we are pleased with them in general,” John Morrison, chairman of the National Alliance of State Health Cooperatives, said in a prepared statement. The group was formed to promote the development of state-based health cooperatives. “They represent both opportunity and accountability for this important new industry,” he said.