Colorado HealthOP Files Lawsuit In Bid To Stay Afloat

October 19, 2015
Photo: HealthOP workers hand out information (AP file)
HealthOp workers in Denver encourage the public to get health coverage under the Affordable Care Act in this March 2014 photo.

Colorado's health cooperative, Colorado HealthOP says it's filed a lawsuit to try to force the state to allow it to sell health plans on the state's health insurance marketplace for 2016.

Julia Hutchins, the HealthOP's CEO, said they've asked a court for a temporary restraining order and injunction to make the Division of Insurance allow the cooperative's plans to be sold on Colorado's exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.

She said the co-op has identified an investor who is prepared to put in $40 million or more into the company and that Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazer should give them more time. 
On Friday, the Division of Insurance pulled HealthOP insurance plans from the state's exchange. It said the cooperative failed to meet state capital-reserve requirements. 
"The commissioner has acted prematurely and we should be granted more time to recover our capital deficiency," Hutchins said. "We don't believe there's any harm for us to be able to continue to see if those solutions could play out and that the best thing for our members and for the state of Colorado is to continue to have a non-profit cooperative as part of the marketplace going forward."
 A Division of Insurance spokesman declined to comment.
The HealthOP will continue to pay its 2015 claims. The HealthOP's leaders hope if they're granted a reprieve their roughly 83,000 members will keep their plans with the cooperative.
Earlier this month, the HealthOP was told by the federal government it wouldn't be paid roughly $14 million it had been expecting from the "risk corridor" program. The program was set up under the Affordable Care Act as a way to limit the money an insurers could lose or make on policies sold via state insurance marketplaces.
Hutchins said the company was blindsided by the decision.

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