Tennessee CO-OP freezes enrollment
Another consumer oriented and operated health plan (CO-OP) has ceased accepting new enrollments for the year. Tennessee's Community Health Alliance (CHA) pulled its plans off the state's federally run exchange by freezing enrolling on Jan. 15, according to an announcement on Tennessee's government website. The announcement follows news that Iowa CoOportunity Health is now under state control.
During the first open enrollment period, CHA sold plans in five of the state's eight rating areas and enrolled fewer than 1,000 Tennesseans, compared to a goal of 25,000, reported Healthcare Payer News.
For the second enrollment period, the CO-OP sold in all eight rating areas and offered the lowest premiums throughout most of the state. This was a marked contract to the state's largest insurer, BlueCross, which increased premiums by 19 percent, noted HCPN.
While CHA reported in early January that enrollment grew exponentially from 2014 to 2015, this suspension is more of a "preventive measure to support the long-term viability of CHA and the protection of Tennessee consumers," as noted in the announcement.
It's unclear just how many individuals CHA enrolled through Jan. 15, according to HCPN. The organization insisted that it is not in any trouble and remains on track to sell plans for the 2016 enrollment period.
With CHA out of the picture for the last leg of open enrollment, consumers can now turn to four other insurers in the state--BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Assurant Health, Cigna and Humana.
This news may stir up questions about whether other CO-OPs can remain financially sustainable despite enrollment success.
Iowa's CoOportunity Health, for example, enrolled more than 35,000 members by Jan. 1, far surpassing its first-year target of 12,000 members, and earned $127 million dollars in premium volume. Despite this enrollment success, the state's CO-OP will no longer offer plans on Iowa's Marketplace Choice Plan.
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