Colorado Health Insurance CO-OP Receives $69 Million Loan Award from HHS

Jul 27, 2012, 12:14 ET from Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, Inc.

DENVER, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, Inc. (CO-OP) has been notified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that its loan application for $69 million to start and operate a statewide nonprofit health insurance CO-OP has been approved.  The CO-OP is a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, a new kind of nonprofit health insurance company designed to offer affordable, high quality health coverage to individuals and small businesses. 

The CO-OP is sponsored by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Foundation, which received grants from the Colorado Health Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund a feasibility study regarding formation of the CO-OP.  Many consumer groups, healthcare provider organizations, another nonprofit health plan, the Colorado Medical Society and the National Federation of Independent Business supported the CO-OP's loan application process.

The CO-OP will begin marketing its health insurance products in 2013, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014.  The CO-OP plans will be available through the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange as well as through local insurance brokers and agents. 

Purchasers of the insurance plans will become members of the CO-OP.  The membership elects its Board of Directors.  Consumer members will hold a majority of the positions on the board.  Operating profits will be used to benefit members, by improving plan coverage and programs and keeping rates lower.  This type of nonprofit insurer is different from others by being controlled by the consumers whom it is designed to serve.

Lindy Wallace is serving as President of the volunteer Formation Board that will serve until the Member Board is elected in 2014. 

"We are so thrilled about what this CO-OP will mean for the people of Colorado, especially the people in rural and other parts of Colorado who have such a challenge getting affordable insurance coverage and getting access to high quality health care," said Wallace.  "This project has required a huge investment of hard work by so many people, and we just cannot say thank you enough to all those who have helped us come to this point."

The federal Affordable Care Act provides for at least one CO-OP in each state to receive loan funding for start up expenses and to meet state insurance solvency requirements. 

Further Information: Lindy Wallace 303-283-3532 

SOURCE Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, Inc.