HHS Audit: Obamacare Co-Ops in Distress

Nonprofit co-ops – Obamacare’s alternative to big insurers – are bleeding red ink, with many falling far short of their sign-up goals, according to a government watchdog audit.

Under the healthcare reform law, taxpayers provided $2.4 billion in loans to get the co-ops going, but only one out of 23 – in Maine – made money last year, the report finds.

The audit by the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office also found 13 of the 23 were far behind 2014 enrollment projections.

“The low enrollments and net losses might limit the ability of some co-ops to repay startup and solvency loans, and to remain viable and sustainable,” according to the audit.

Kentucky’s co-op, which is faring the worst, lost about $50 million; on enrollment, Arizona’s co-op signed up just 869 people, compared to a goal of about 24,000.