Cost Of Health Coop’s Failure May Be Passed onto Consumers

The collapse of Colorado’s health cooperative last year will end up costing the state's insurers more than $100 million -- costs that could be passed on to consumers.

Last year the Colorado HealthOP failed after the federal government announced it would not pay millions of dollars in funding that the coop had been expecting. That meant the claims of its 80,000 members were picked up by a special fund set up in case an insurer failure.

The fund is similar to way the FDIC backs up banks, according to state Division of Insurance spokesman Vince Plymell, who added that it's been a couple of decades since the guarantee fund was last activated in Colorado.

The total cost of paying those claims is up to $105 million, Plymell said. Other insurers pay into the fund, and they could assess consumers a surcharge to recoup those funds. But the Colorado Association of Health Plans says it’s working to minimize the impact to consumers.