New Jersey: Some more *GOOD* CO-OP news!

Last week, in light of the #RiskCorridorMassacre debacle, I tried to find some good news on the CO-OP front, and while I didn't find much to cheer about, there were some bright spots in Maine/New Hampshire (where one CO-OP actually turned a profit last year), along with Illinois, Montana, Idaho, Ohio and Wisconsin (where the CO-OPs are still losing money, but seem to have staunched the blood flow and claim to be stable now, to put it in medical terms).

Today I can add one more state to the Good News column...New Jersey:

During the past month, five health insurance co-ops across the country have announced they are shutting down at the end of this year.

Health policy analysts are predicting more closures, but Health Republic of New Jersey probably won’t be one of them.

The nonprofit reported net income of $3.1 million for the first half of 2015, according to its second quarter filing with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This is a huge turnaround, considering it saw a net loss of $16.5 million at the end of last year.

Co-ops — consumer operated and oriented plans — are nonprofit health insurance companies established under the Affordable Care Act. They were kick-started with federal loans and set up to increase competition in the state-based and federally facilitated health insurance exchanges.

...Only 13 of the original 23 co-ops are still operating.

It’s hard to make direct comparisons given that each of the co-ops is operating in a unique market and had significantly different enrollment numbers. At the end of 2014, only the Maine co-op reported a net income.

Of the five co-ops that recently announced they will be closing, New York's saw a net loss of $35.2 million at the end of 2014; Colorado's was down $23 million; Kentucky's was out $50.4 million; South Carolina's lost $3.8 million, and Utah's was down $19.9 million, according to a July report released by the Office of the Inspector General.

Health Republic of New Jersey was down $16.5 million but is since turning a profit.

UNLIKE OTHER CO-OPS, Health Republic of New Jersey did not rely on risk corridors payments, a federal reimbursement program that fell short. And it gradually built its enrollment, allowing it to better manage risk and capital reserves. It was also one of the few co-ops that benefited from risk adjustment payments, meaning its patient population was sicker when compared to the average patient population in the state.

The article goes on to note that Health Republic is still obviously not out of the woods yet; they're still in the red overall, the results for the 2nd half of 2015 still aren't known, and who knows what'll happen next year? Still, the official tally is now:

  • 2 CO-OPs operating in 3 states turning a profit (ME/NH, NJ)
  • 4 CO-OPs operating in 5 states treading water (IL, MT/ID, OH, WI)
  • 7 6 CO-OPs holding on by the skin of their teeth (AZ, CT, MD, MA/NH, MI, NM, OR)
  • 1 CO-OP dissolved (IA/NE)
  • 9 10 CO-OPs dissolved at the end of 2015 (KY, NY, NV, LA, CO, TN, UT, OR, SC, AZ)

UPDATE 10/31/15:  (sigh) the Arizona CO-OP is shutting down as well. Updated.