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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Protecting Nebraska Policyholders

Thousands of Nebraskans are being encouraged to quickly change their health care coverage due to the collapse of CoOportunity Health (CoOportunity).
 
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, created CoOportunity as a consumer operated and oriented plan, or co-op. Co-ops are non-profit health insurers intended to create competition in the health insurance marketplace. CoOportunity, based in Iowa, was approved as a co-op to sell health insurance in Iowa and Nebraska.  
 
High enrollment numbers exceeded expectations in both states. This led to more claims, and, in a matter of months, the company had outgrown its resources. On December 16, 2014, President Obama’s administration refused CoOportunity’s request for additional loans, and a week later, an Iowa court determined that CoOportunity was in financially hazardous condition. On February 28, 2015, the company was liquidated.
 
This Obamacare failure has left many insured Nebraskans wondering what to do next. My administration is working with the Nebraska Department of Insurance (NDOI) to help CoOportunity policyholders decide what is best for their families and businesses. NDOI encourages those still covered by CoOportunity to obtain coverage with a new carrier during a Special Enrollment Period, which runs from March 1st through April 29th. Enrolling during this time is essential because CoOportunity policies will be cancelled before the next open enrollment period begins. NDOI reports that individual policies will be canceled 180 days after liquidation, and group policies canceled within 30-45 days after liquidation.
 
During the Special Enrollment Period, individuals insured by CoOportunity and any of their enrolled dependents may choose a different health plan offered by a different company. Doing so now may give those individuals more options for individual plans, since an insurer is not required to sell individual policies outside of a special enrollment period.
 
CoOportunity policyholders can follow the company’s regular process for claims while it is in liquidation. To avoid a gap in coverage, keep paying CoOportunity premiums until you have purchased a policy to replace CoOportunity.
 
Policyholders still covered by CoOportunity will no longer receive Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) or Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR) because these plans lose Qualified Health Plan status upon liquidation. That means that those who stay on this plan may be forced to pay hundreds of more dollars per month in policy fees and co-pays.
 
Today, I am joining the NDOI to encourage those affected by CoOportunity’s collapse to find new health insurance coverage. This is yet another unintended and unfortunate result of the Affordable Care Act, and my administration is committed to helping Nebraskans who have been negatively impacted by this issue.  
 
Policyholders with individual plans who are in the Special Enrollment Period (beginning March 1st) should call 1-800-318-2596.
 
For policyholders with a small business plan through the SHOP exchange, call 1-800-706-7893.
 
Insurance agents and brokers can assist employers who are moving to a new plan.
 
Hearing from you is an important part of helping my administration assess your needs.  I look forward to input from people all across our state.  As always, you are welcome to contact my office at (402) 471-2244, or by email, at pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov.