Writing about co-ops: A taste of the complexity

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

I wrote about co-ops as an undercovered health reform topic last month and provided some resources about how to cover them, either from a big-picture perspective about their role in the exchanges across the country next year or if you are looking at co-ops in your state or region – if they exist.

Health Affairs and RWJF have published a brief that explains in more detail about how they are set up, and the challenges they face. The brief  gives a  description of several of the co-ops – here are the top three on the list to give a taste of the variety. (There  are more in the brief and the National Alliance of State Health Cooperatives has a full list (PDF).

  • Evergreen Health Cooperative, established by Peter Beilenson, a former Baltimore City health commissioner, intends to provide high-quality care to members throughout Maryland with premiums costing 20-30 percent less than those of traditional insurance to help keep people from developing more serious illnesses. It has been awarded $65 million in loans.
  • HealthyCT is a nonprofit health plan sponsored by the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) and CSMS-IPA, a statewide independent practice association of providers. HealthyCT will focus on encouraging members to use patient-centered medical homes. It has been awarded $76 million in loans.
  • Compass Cooperative Health Network in Arizona is sponsored by local experts in insurance, chronic disease coordination, use of health information technology, and business formation. It will begin on a regional basis within Arizona and then expand statewide over time. It has been awarded $93 million.

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