New Mexico: More *GOOD* Co-Op news!

From today's Albequerque Journal:

The dozen collapses will disrupt insurance for 740,000 individuals and small-business employees, who are being instructed by state and federal officials to choose new plans in time for them to take effect in January. In New York state, the window is narrower. Government officials have moved up the closing date of the New York Health Republic co-op, the nation’s largest, giving its more than 200,000 members just two weeks to select different coverage before it shuts down at the end of this month.

Although it lost money in 2014, New Mexico Health Connections is “financially very strong” with strong cash reserves, CEO Martin Hickey said Wednesday. In fact, the co-op expects to greatly expand by picking up consumers who had been insured with Blue Cross Blue Shield New Mexico on the state health exchange. Blue Cross is not offering individual insurance policies on the exchange for 2016.

“Our competitors don’t want to believe it necessarily, but we’re financially healthy,” Hickey said. “We’re going to be here for a very long time.”

As an aside, the "good" news is that as ugly as the New York Co-Op situation is, it actually "only" has around 166K enrolled at the moment, not 200K, for whatever that's worth...

Meanwhile, in Arizona, a co-op that just days ago was ordered to fold by regulators is resisting. The state’s insurance director, Andy Tobin, announced on Friday that he was placing Meritus Health Partners under state supervision and closing it down. His statement also said that the co-op “declined to consent” to that order.

I've been informed by Louise Norris that, similar to the Colorado Co-Op, for all their protests, the Arizona exchange is being shut down regardless.

Anyway, this is still great news for the New Mexico Co-Op; I can update my "rankings" with a positive move for once:

  • 2 CO-OPs operating in 3 states turning a profit (ME/NH, NJ)
  • 5 CO-OPs operating in 6 states treading water (IL, MT/ID, OH, WI, NM)
  • 4 CO-OPs holding on by the skin of their teeth (CT, MD, MA/NH, OR)
  • 1 CO-OP removed from the exchange, possibly to dissolve (MI)
  • 1 CO-OP already dissolved (IA/NE)
  • 10 CO-OPs being dissolved (NV, LA, NY, KY, TN, CO, OR, SC, UT, AZ)

UPDATE: Here's another very positive article about the New Mexico Co-Op:

Ashanin said the organization is hiring a large amount of case managers and medical management staff and is considering moving some of its customer service staffing on-site. The move is expected to occur sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

NMHC's expansion comes while several other co-op insurers in other states, including Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New York, have failed in recent weeks. NMHC CEO Martin Hickey has said the organization is in excellent shape financially.