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Add Michigan, Nevada to CO-OP list

Michigan and Nevada on Friday became the latest states to receive Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, loans from the CMS, bringing the award total to more than $982 million for these not-for-profit insurers created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Directed by customers, CO-OPS are supposed to offer both small businesses and individuals more-affordable health insurance options and will be offered through the health insurance exchanges or in plans outside the exchanges starting on Jan. 1, 2014. The program gives low-interest loans to not-for-profit groups that then establish these entities.In the latest round of awards, the CMS granted $71.5 million to Michigan Consumer's Healthcare CO-OP, which is sponsored by a coalition of 15 county health plans that are private, not-for-profit corporations offering limited coverage to low-income individuals in the state.

Meanwhile in Nevada, the CMS awarded a $65.9 million loan to Hospitality Health CO-OP, which plans to provide health insurance coverage throughout the state. That CO-OP is sponsored by the Culinary Health Fund and its national parent, Unite HERE Health, as well as the Health Services Coalition. The coalition is a not-for-profit group of more than 20 member organizations, including the Las Vegas Firefighters, Tropicana Resort and Casino and the city of Las Vegas.

The CMS reports that a dozen not-for-profit organizations covering 12 states have received CO-OP loans to date. Awards are announced on a rolling basis, and there are quarterly application deadlines through Dec. 31.
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