Barbara Smith, an official at the Center for Consumer Information and Oversight (CCIIO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), talked about the CO-OP plan loan program today during a conference call aimed at individuals and entities interested in applying to participate.

Section 1322 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) created the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program in an effort to encourage nonprofit groups to organize alternatives to traditional health insurance arrangements.

CO-OPs are supposed to be member-owned plans with member-dominated boards that have no ties to traditional for-profit or nonprofit health insurance issuers, or to trade groups representing health insurance issuers.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.