Community Health Options, a not-for-profit co-op insurance company based in Maine that also sells health plans in New Hampshire, will limit individual enrollments this month because of “higher-than-expected claims costs.”
It's an inauspicious sign for the company, one of the few successful co-ops created by the Affordable Care Act. Twelve of the ACA's 23 co-ops have folded this year or will be closing down by year end.
Community Health Options is one of three insurers selling individual plans in Maine and one of five insurers in New Hampshire. Both states use the federal HealthCare.gov website for enrollment. The co-op will stop directly enrolling people in individual coverage on Dec. 15, and those signing up for its plans through the exchange will have only until Dec. 26 to enroll, the co-op said on its website.
The decision to halt enrollment early will not affect current members, and Community Health Options still plans on pursuing small employers into next year. “We aim to resume individual enrollment as soon as possible, but in the meantime continue to focus on group business,” CEO Kevin Lewis said. —Bob Herman