CareSource to pick up ACA co-op plan

CareSource plans to affiliate with one of the last surviving ACA co-op plans. 

According to a Feb. 27 news release from CareSource, the Dayton, Ohio-based insurer signed an intent to affiliate with Brookfield, Wis.-based Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative. 

The ACA established funding for consumer-operated and -owned plans, or co-ops. In 2012, 23 of these plans launched. The federal government pulled much of the funding allocated to co-op plans in 2015, and Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is one of three remaining co-op health plans in the country, according to Politico

Cathy Mahaffey, CEO of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, said the plan is financially healthy and will be able to repay loans it owes the federal government. 

"Even so, it's challenging as a nonprofit startup to support necessary investments in operations and diversification while keeping premiums affordable for our members," Ms. Mahaffey said. "After years of searching, I’m grateful we've found the perfect partner in CareSource that will enable us to continue our focus on the members we serve because we share the same not-for-profit, members-first philosophy." 

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative was founded in 2012 and offers individual and small group exchange plans in 24 counties in Wisconsin. 

Ms. Mahaffey will continue to lead the Wisconsin market if the deal is approved by regulators and co-op members, according to the release. It will operate as an affiliate of CareSource. 

CareSource, a nonprofit managed care organization, has 2.3 million members across Medicaid, Medicare and individual products in seven states. In August, the nonprofit inked a joint venture with Michigan-based Health Alliance Plan to expand its Medicaid footprint in the state. It also acquired nonprofit senior care group Radiant Alliance in 2023. 

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