Executives with Arizona’s not-for-profit health insurance co-op said they will shut down all operations on Dec. 31.
The announcement by Meritus Health Partners means 59,000 Arizonans will need to find a new insurer by Dec. 15 if they want coverage on Jan. 1. The decision comes nearly a month after the state insurance department suspended the co-op’s right to sell new policies or renew current ones, and placed it under formal supervision. The insurance department feared that Meritus’ finances were so shaky that it would fail midway through 2016. Federal officials also pulled Meritus’ policies from the health insurance marketplace website last month.
The company said the claims of current clients will be paid through the end of the year, and brokers and medical providers will be paid. A hotline to help current clients find new insurance is expected to be operational this week.
The not-for-profit was one of 23 co-ops created under the Affordable Care Act to provide competition to for-profit insurers, but many have struggled and more than half have now failed or will close by the end of the year.