Ari­zona health in­sur­ance co-op to close on Dec. 31

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

Ex­ec­u­tives with Ari­zona’s not-for­profit health in­sur­ance co-op said they will shut down all oper­a­tions on Dec. 31.

The an­nounce­ment by Mer­i­tus Health Part­ners means 59,000 Arizo- nans will need to find a new in­surer by Dec. 15 if they want cov­er­age on Jan. 1. The de­ci­sion comes nearly a month af­ter the state in­sur­ance depart­ment sus­pended the co-op’s right to sell new poli­cies or re­new cur­rent ones, and placed it un­der for­mal su­per­vi­sion. The in­sur­ance depart­ment feared that Mer­i­tus’ fi­nances were so shaky that it would fail mid­way through 2016. Fed­eral of­fi­cials also pulled Mer­i­tus’ poli­cies from the health in­sur­ance mar­ket­place web­site last month.

The com­pany said the claims of cur­rent clients will be paid through the end of the year, and bro­kers and med­i­cal providers will be paid. A hot­line to help cur­rent clients find new in­sur­ance is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tional this week.

The not-for-profit was one of 23 coops cre­ated un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act to pro­vide com­pe­ti­tion to for-profit in­sur­ers, but many have strug­gled and more than half have now failed or will close by the end of the year.

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