Fate of ObamaCare Co-Ops Uncertain After Half Collapse

The fate of a network of alternative “co-op” health plans started under ObamaCare remains uncertain going into 2016, after half of them collapsed amid deep financial problems.

The co-ops are government-backed, nonprofit health insurers propped up with over $2 billion in taxpayer loans. Twelve of the 23 co-ops established under the Affordable Care Act, though, have gone or are expected to go under by the end of the year, leaving customers who used them scrambling for coverage and taxpayer money at risk.

But, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill demand answers on what’s being done, the Obama administration is offering few predictions on the program’s future other than to say no more money will go toward new co-ops. As to whether that future will crystallize next year, a top federal health official said: “It’s impossible to say right now.”

Kevin Counihan, insurance marketplace CEO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, described the co-op failures and other changes as simply “inevitable” in the health care industry.