On Monday the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) introduced new rules for consumer-controlled health insurance plans called “Consumer Oriented and Operated Plans” (also known as co-ops). The new rules from HHS indicate that co-ops could receive funds from the federal government to increase competition and potentially cut insurance prices.
The goal of the new co-op regulation is to improve care without increasing costs. It plans to do this through health insurance competition. HHS believes this can be done by having board members on the co-ops who must be members of the plan. The startup funding provided by the federal government would allow these co-ops to compete with traditional and already established insurers, ultimately driving down costs through market competition.
HHS anticipates funding 57 co-ops around the country, and hopes that at least one will emerge in each of the 50 states.