WASHINGTON – Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Joni Ernst of Iowa today pressed the federal health care agency in charge of federally created health care co-ops for answers on helping the Nebraskans and Iowans who were impacted by CoOportunity’s collapse. CoOportunity is the co-op serving Nebraska and Iowa that ran out of money in December and collapsed in January. The senators released the following statements:
“I have heard from many Nebraskans who have been negatively affected by the failure of CoOportunity Health. These Nebraskans are now forced to decide whether to give up the health care that they chose or lose the subsidies they were promised. Some have already contributed hundreds, even thousands, of dollars toward their deductibles and out of pocket costs only to find their money will not count toward a new plan. I hope this administration will provide a suitable answer for how it plans to help these individuals and how they plan to address these serious problems.”
“These customers didn’t know CoOportunity was about to collapse. If they had, they might have been able to make other arrangements to avoid paying out of pocket costs for 2015 in CoOportunity. Instead, the people who have already paid out thousands of dollars in their deductibles and co-payments for this year are left in the lurch. CMS needs to explain how it will help these individuals.”
“The failure of CoOportunity Health is very disappointing as thousands of Iowans now face uncertainty over their health care. We need answers from CMS regarding their knowledge of CoOportunity’s problems and we need a workable solution for every Iowan who has paid out of pocket costs towards their deductible. I will continue to push for solutions to achieve a sustainable health care system that provides quality, affordable benefits for Iowans – and all Americans.”
CoOportunity failed during the customer re-enrollment period for 2015 after the federal government said there would be no additional federal loan money available for the co-op. It’s unclear whether the federal government communicated adequately with co-op and state officials about the lack of available funding. With adequate information and notice, co-op and state officials might have been able to dissuade CoOportunity customers from re-enrolling and thereby avoid out of pocket costs for customers in 2015. Now, these customers are faced with starting over with another plan and paying out of pocket costs for their new plan.
Click here to view the text of the senators’ letter to CMS Administrator Tavenner.