New health plan co-ops already in trouble

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Washington Post: Congress authorized not-for-profit insurance cooperatives under the Affordable Care Act to foster health insurance competition, but has now put their existence in jeopardy with poor funding and onerous rules.

While the debut of the Affordable Care Act this month has been marred by widespread computer problems, the difficulties facing the co-ops have been less obvious to consumers. One co-op, however, has closed, another is struggling and at least nine more have been projected to have financial problems, according to internal government reviews and a federal audit.

Their failure would leave taxpayers potentially on the hook for nearly $1 billion in defaulted loans and rob the marketplace of the kind of competition they were supposed to create. And if they become insolvent, policy holders in at least half the states where the co-ops operate could be stuck with medical bills.

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