Issa slams O-Care co-ops

People aren’t signing up for many of the nonprofit health insurance cooperatives created by ObamaCare, according to Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.

In a report, Republicans on the panel said 14 of 23 co-ops had significantly lower enrollment than they projected for 2014. The low enrollment will make it tougher for them to pay back $2 billion in federal loans they received to help boost their enrollment, the Republicans argue.

“We know that most of the CO-OPs failed to meet their expected enrollment numbers with 11 CO-OPs spending more than $10,000 for each person they ultimately enrolled,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight Committee. “Enrollment figures to date raise serious questions about how these CO-OPs plan on staying solvent and that taxpayers will ever be repaid.”

Issa’s panel cites the example of the Tennessee-based Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Co., which estimated it would sign up more than 25,000 people but was only able to enroll 325 people at a cost of more than $207,000 per enrollee. The co-op received more than $73 million in federal loans to help with their operations.

While overall, the co-ops hoped to enroll 575,000 people. They have enrolled about 450,000. That’s mostly due to nine co-ops that greatly exceeded their projected enrollment.

Health Republic Insurance of New York planned to enroll only about 18,000 people but ended up enrolling more than 112,000 people at a cost of $1,557 per person. The co-op received more than $175 million in federal loans for its work. 

The health insurance co-ops were an alternative to the public option plan that would have created a new government-run insurance plan.

Because they are nonprofit, the co-ops were expected to counter for-profit insurance plans and lower premium prices.