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A Massachusetts nonprofit health insurer was awarded $88.5 million, and a Tennessee nonprofit insurer was awarded $73.3 million Aug. 31, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced.
Minuteman Health Inc. received the loan under the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program to initially provide regional coverage in eastern and central Massachusetts and to expand to offer statewide coverage by July 2014, according to a fact sheet posted on CMS's Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight website. The nonprofit is sponsored by Tufts Medical Center and Vanguard Health Systems, two hospital systems that intend to participate in its network.
Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Co. plans to offer insurance plans statewide in Tennessee, the fact sheet said. It is sponsored by Healthcare 21 Business Coalition, part of the National Business Coalition on Health, and LBMC Employment Partners, a professional services organization that provides financial, accounting, and Professional Employer Organization services to small employers in Tennessee.
The CO-OP program was created by the Affordable Care Act. The program offers low-interest loans to eligible nonprofit groups to help set up and maintain nonprofit health plans, the CMS fact sheet said.
CO-OPs are directed by their customers and designed to offer individuals and small businesses more affordable, consumer-friendly, and high-quality health insurance options, it said. With the two new loans, a total of 20 nonprofits offering coverage in 20 states have been awarded $1.6 billion, it said.
In 2014, CO-OPs will offer health plans through the online exchanges to be set up in all states. CO-OPs may also offer health plans outside of an exchange, the fact sheet said. There will be subsequent quarterly application deadlines through Dec. 31, 2012.
A fact sheet on the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan is at http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/02/coops02212012a.html.
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