Regulators will shut down Health Republic Insurance of New York, the largest of the nonprofit cooperatives created under the Affordable Care Act, in the latest sign of the financial pressures facing many insurers that participated in the law’s new marketplaces.
The insurer lost about $52.7 million in the first six months of this year, on top of a $77.5 million loss in 2014, according to regulatory filings. The move to wind down its operations was made jointly by officials from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; New York’s state insurance exchange, known as New York State of Health; and the New York State Department of Financial Services.
In a statement, Health Republic said it was “deeply disappointed” by the outcome, and pointed to “challenges placed on us by the structure of the CO-OP program.”
Health Republic has about 215,000 members, with about half holding individual plans and half under small-business coverage, a spokesman for the insurer said.
The regulators said they chose to take action before the exchange’s November open enrollment period, when individuals can choose coverage with a new insurer. Health Republic policies will remain in effect amid “an orderly wind down” of the insurer’s operations, they said. In a statement, Kevin Counihan, the CMS official who oversees insurance marketplace operations, said the move came “because of the likelihood that Health Republic Insurance of New York would become financially insolvent.”
The shuttering of Health Republic, at least the fourth to falter among the ACA’s original 23 co-ops around the country, reflects the losses many insurers are seeing in their business related to the health law’s exchanges, which are particularly acute for small plans without deep pockets or diversified lines of business.