Press Release:

Minnesotans Deserve Better; the Co-op Care Alternative

Contact: Joel Albers, 612-384-0973, or use our contact form

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St. Paul, March 20, 2013: Co-op Care announced today that it is prepared to launch a COOPERATIVE health insurance plan to level the playing field currently controlled by the big-four profit-driven HMOs. This will save federal and state government, businesses and Minnesota citizens hundreds of millions of dollars yearly, and improve care. Yet the MN legislature would need to pass legislation that will ensure loans to such cooperative health plans. Pls attend Co-op Care’s Press Conference, Wed, March 20, 2013, State Office Building, Capitol, Rm 181, 11am-12. The big-four health plans dominating Minnesota health care -- Blue Cross, Medica, HealthPartners, and UCare -- gave themselves unrealistic and possibly illegal increases in revenue from federal tax dollars, $162 million from 2003-11(DHS audit, 3/13). Millions more are spent on excessive bureaucracy, excessive executive salaries, and excessive profit reserves, diminishing health care quality and service. An especially egregious situation exists where dentists and pharmacists have seen no increases in below-cost fees in over 10 and 20 years, respectively, not even adjusted for inflation while the big-four plans have financial reserves far in excess of what is needed for insurance solvency – over $600 million in excess (MN Dept of Commerce, 2008). Meanwhile, premiums for all Minnesotans continue to increase by 2-3 times that of wages and other consumer prices.

Co-op Care, is an emerging private, non-profit, cooperative insurance pool (member-owned, operated and governed) with fully developed business and operational plans that adhere to the following principles:

  • One accountable risk pool for everyone eligible on the Exchange, (“everybody in, nobody out”).
  • One payer (ourselves); streamlines administration, easily understandable, eliminates most “managed care.”
  • Directly contracts with hospitals, clinics, to create our own provider network and Accountable Care Organizations paid much higher percentage of our premium dollar (no more network rentals from HMOs)
  • Efficient, Secure up-to-date information technology processing systems (no more expensive HMO "legacy systems")
  • Integrates health care (does not fragment, complicate) and, thus, improves health outcomes for MN.

Co-op Care, the public’s option, is community driven and has already been authorized under the federal Affordable Care Act and does NOT require additional legislation in order to operate. Co-op Care can be the future of health care in Minnesota if our legislators, policymakers, and the public take the appropriate steps: Funding for health plan cooperatives must be restored. The original Affordable Care Act of 2010 (section 1322) provided for low interest federal loans to health care CO-OPs; this was rescinded with the "fiscal cliff", but must be restored by the federal government or replaced by low interest loans from the state.

Co-op Care Board of Directors:

  • Joel Albers Pharm.D. Ph.D., Chair
  • Diana Chapa, M.D., CUHCC Clinic
  • Rakesh Sharma, Ph.D. gScribe Health Care Technology
  • Jed Meyer, Banker, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
  • Gayathri Ramanathan, Information Technologist
  • David Feinwachs, J.D. Ph.D.

Co-op Care Supporters:

  • MN Association of Community Health Centers
  • Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli
  • In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater
  • West Bank Pharmacy and Walk-in Clinic
  • Schneider Drug
  • Practitioners United Minnesota
  • Economic Crisis Action Group
  • Twin Cities Gray Panthers
  • Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign
  • FFI:
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Co-op Care: A Prairie HEALTH Companion proposes to be Minnesota’s first large-scale, non-profit, cooperative health insurance pool for individuals, uninsured, co-ops, small businesses, and non-profits. Unlike profit-driven HMOs, our goal is to serve people based on need, and improve the health of our members and the community.

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Co-op Care: A Prairie HEALTH Companion © 2012 - 2017