New “CO-OP” health plan would provide an affordable option for Louisiana individuals and small groupsPosted: March 13, 2012
An executive management team, led by former Ochsner Health Plan president and CEO Terry Shilling, is planning to develop a non-profit cooperative focused on providing an affordable, consumer-friendly health plan option for Louisiana individuals and small groups (under 50 employees).
In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed into law, providing seed money to fund health cooperatives in all 50 states. The ACA requires that a health cooperative, known as a “Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan” (“CO-OP”) is formed as a non-profit, controlled by and operated on behalf of its members. As not-for-profit entitities, CO-OPs are likely to create competition among existing health plans and generate innovative cost control measures to make health insurance more affordable.
The “Louisiana Health Cooperative“ is now in formation and seeking approval from the state insurance department to operate as a health insurance company. If approved, it must follow all the Louisiana insurance laws and regulations. It will be directed by its customers and use profits for customer benefits.
Applications for CO-OP formation have been filed in more than half of the states. So far CO-OP awards have been issued in Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin. If all applicatons for CO-OP formation are approved, 30 million Americans who are currently uninsured will have an opportunity, or option, for insurance. In addition, CO-OPs will provide an additional choice of insurance for more than 12 million workers now employed by small employers with fewer than 50 employees.
Beginning January 1, 2014, CO-OPs will be able to offer health plans through the new, competitive health care marketplaces in each state called the Affordable Insurance Exchanges. If approved, the Louisiana Health Cooperative will provide a high quality, affordable option for individuals and small groups.
Ochsner Health System is a sponsor of the Louisiana Health Cooperative. On April 2, 2012, Louisiana Health Cooperative will be filing an application with CMS/HHS and would appreciate letters of support from Louisiana individuals and small groups that would benefit from the development of this CO-OP.