For the past couple of years MHC (Montana Health Cooperative) has been gaining interest and growing. Recently something huge happened: They were awarded with 58 million from the Federal government to pick up the pace and get this going!
What is a health insurance cooperative?
The Affordable Care Act, passed into law in March of 2010, provided seed money to fund health cooperatives in all 50 states. The Act requires that a health cooperative, known as a “Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan” (“Coop”) is formed as a nonprofit, controlled by and operated on behalf of its members.
Coops must seek and receive approval from their state insurance departments to operate as a health insurance company and follow all the insurance laws of their home state.
Positives: More competition always means better premiums for everyone. So with Montana Health Cooperative gaining momentum and becoming a reality – this will also force other insurance companies to stay competitive price wise because it appears that since they are setting up as a non-profit company – they will be able to bring low premiums. However, there are no details yet on what coverage looks like.
This can be a great way for all Montanan’s to begin to save money on health insurance because the current private health insurance companies will need to stay priced to compete with this new Cooperative.
The MHC is projected to begin in 2014.
Other speculations: It is interesting to me the government’s interest in non-profit cooperatives. It makes me think that they may want this to happen to take an inbetween step into a government-run health insurance. I must note that cooperatives are not run by the government – but it makes me think that they have some type of investment in wanting to supply money towards it – even though the cooperative is required to pay back the money lent to them. Is the government interested to try and knock out private (for profit) insurance companies? Who can really know?
But if the government is interested to put private health insurance companies out of business and the health co-ops somehow fail – then the government will have control over the healthcare industry and will eventually start rationing healthcare depending on what type of disease you have - just food for thought. However, right now it appears that this Montana Health Cooperative would be a good thing.