Montana health insurance co-op plans to offer insurance to Idahoans

newsroom@idahostatesman.comDecember 2, 2013 

The Montana Health CO-OP plans to use $22 million in federal funding to enter the Idaho insurance market, according to a press release Monday.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 created a new type of private, nonprofit health insurer called a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, that can sell insurance plans starting January 2014.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as of early November had awarded $2 billion of low-interest loans to nonprofits in 24 states for the establishment of CO-OPs. Montana Health Cooperative won a $58 million award in February 2012 to start offering insurance to Montanans, and it currently is licensed to sell plans in Montana.

But it will be at least a year before Idahoans can buy a plan from the Montana cooperative. The CO-OP must have Idaho regulators' approval to sell plans, and it expects to start the licensing process in the next few weeks, according to the release.

If approved by the Idaho Department of Insurance, the Montana CO-OP will start selling insurance plans in Idaho Nov. 15, 2014, with coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015.

Jerry Dworak, president and CEO, said in the release that the Montana CO-OP is "committed to offering higher quality, lower cost, more coordinated healthcare across the mountain states."

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