Utah shuts down nonprofit insurance co-op

A tenth nonprofit insurance cooperative formed under the Affordable Care Act is going to close, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Arches Health Plan, Utah's health insurance co-op, has been ordered to stop offering coverage as of Dec. 31. The co-op insures 66,000 Utahns.

Although Arches insures many Utahns through HealthCare.gov, it also covers consumers with employer-sponsored plans and consumers who purchase coverage through insurance agents or brokers. Individuals who have coverage through HealthCare.gov, insurance agents or insurance brokers must find new plans for 2016.

The Utah Insurance Department put Arches in receivership Oct. 27. The same day, CMS asked for a final decision on Arches' status. Arches was not able to raise enough funds to guarantee its survivability in 2016.

Like many other co-ops, Arches Health Plan's shut down is primarily due to lack of funding from risk corridor program payouts. It won't receive any of the expected $8.7 million from the federal government.

Arches' shut down will highly impact rural Utahns. Low-income individuals in 20 primarily rural Utah counties will now only be able to purchase 2016 plans through one other insurer: SelectHealth.

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