CO-OPs want restored funding, despite fiscal cliff cuts

Although consumer oriented and operated plans (CO-OP) seemed to be dead in the water after losing almost all funding under the fiscal cliff agreement, the non-traditional health plans are now urging federal officials to support them in any possible way.

The National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs (NASCHO) wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her to take any step that could help the more than 40 CO-OP plans continue to operate, reported InsideHealthPolicy.

CO-OP groups "were dismayed that the Congress would rush through a provision that undermines a foundational component of the Affordable Care Act, and disregards the substantial time and money already invested by CO-OP developers who recently submitted applications," the letter stated.

And NASCHO President John Morrison said the fiscal cliff cuts to CO-OPs happened "for little rhyme or reason," particularly given their ability to offer "high-quality and low-cost health insurance."

NASCHO added that CO-OPs are a necessary alternative to traditional insurers, The Hill's Healthwatch reported. "The importance of the competition provided by CO-OPs has never been more apparent," the organization wrote.

As a result, NASCHO asked HHS to "take any available steps to support those CO-OPs which were abruptly cut off ... including working with Congress to restore funding."

To learn more:
- here's the NASCHO letter
- read the InsideHealthPolicy article (subscription required)
- see The Hill's Healthwatch article