- Community Health Options of Maine, the only health insurance co-op that made a profit in 2014 through the ACA exchanges, has reported high losses for 2015 and plans to halt sales of individual and family coverage for 2016.
- The insurer lost more than $17 million during the first nine months of 2015, compared to making $10.9 million during the same period of 2014, as a result of higher-than-expected medical costs, the Associated Press reports.
- The AP's review of 10 of the 11 remaining co-ops (from the 23 that were initially created) finds that on average, they lost about $21 million in the first nine months of 2015. The losses ranged from $3.9 million at Maryland's Evergreen Health Cooperative to $50.7 million at Illinois' Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Co.
While Community Health Options had initially stood out as an early success story, the fact that it is now losing alongside the other co-ops raises further debate about the co-ops' future sustainability.
Despite its decision to halt individual enrollment for 2016, spokesman Michael Gendreau said the co-op is not in danger of closing.
"It is probably impossible for a startup in the health insurance space to make any significant money in the first couple years," Standard & Poor analyst Deep Banerjee told the AP, suggesting co-ops will likely struggle into 2016, adding, "What it comes down to is they need to turn a profit very quickly because the funding source is drying up."