Colorado’s Non-Profit Health Coop Wants Feds To Restore Loan Funding

A key player in Colorado’s health insurance marketplace is scrambling after the federal government said it won’t provide more than $10 million in promised loans.

Colorado HealthOP is the state’s nonprofit health insurance cooperative. It was counting on a $14 million loan from the Department of Health and Human Services. But Thursday that agency said it will pay less than $2 million of that.

“We were really blindsided by that," says Julia Hutchins, the cooperative's CEO. "We felt like we’d done our part in helping serve individuals who really needed insurance as the Affordable Care Act rolled out. Now we’re the ones left holding the bag.”

Funding for the loan payment program, known as the risk corridor program, has been caught up in the partisan fight over federal healthcare spending. Along with calling on Congress to restore funding to the program, the cooperative is also reaching out to potential investors.

Hutchins says it has commitments for $30 million to help it in the short run.

Last year Colorado HealthOP grew to 80,000 customers and captured the largest market share of the state’s exchange.