It looks like health insurers will have some competition for customers when affordable insurance exchanges open for business in July 2014. On Monday the Department of Health and Human Services announced a proposed rules governing the creation of consumer-operated and- oriented plans, or CO-OPs.
CO-OPs will offer healthcare coverage to individuals through the AIE and to small businesses through the small business health option programs or SHOP exchanges. The private, non-profit, member-governed health plans are designed to create another consumer option for cost-effective healthcare insurance.
The proposed rules set four requirements for a CO-OP: It must
“CO-OPS will look like a regular insurance company. They’ll take risk, make reimbursements and process claims,” explained Courtney R. White, a principal and consulting actuary in the Atlanta office of Milliman Inc., who authored a brief about CO-OPS.
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Interest has been slow on the uptake but is catching on. White suspects that as presented in the Affordable Care Act, CO-OPs may not have looked very sophisticated, but with the ACO movement and integrated delivery systems in place “there is a structure to them; they aren’t just thrown together.”