One lesser-known aspect of the Affordable Care Act is it’s reliance on state health cooperatives — which work separate of the state- or federally run health exchange, but are free to offer their own brand of insurance on the exchange.
But recent Congressional deal-making is putting those co-ops in danger.
While states are getting grants to fund their exchanges, co-ops were getting federal loans which had to be paid back within five years.
But the Washington Post reports that the fiscal cliff deal struck weeks ago kills off the co-op loan program for many states. But because of early planning, the Kentucky Health Cooperative isn’t in any funding danger, spokesman Jim McHanie says.
“Our funding is in place and we’re moving right ahead in fact we’re in the start-up phase of development and we plan to start offering coverage effective January 1, 2014,” he says.
McHanie says the Kentucky Co-op isn’t pleased that other states are getting shut out of funding, but got its loan applications approved before the funds were cut.
“I would say that we are extremely disappointed that people in other states won’t have the opportunity to participate in a co-op, you know member-governed and member-owned,” he says. “And so we feel very sadly for those people in other states.”
The Kentucky Health Co-Operative is based in Louisville and former Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller is its CEO.