Wednesday June 19, 2013

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The non-profit Vermont Health Co-op that is hoping to offer health insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act is adding new members to its board of directors as part of an effort to get the state’s top insurance regulator to reverse a decision she made last month denying the co-op permission to sell insurance to Vermonters.

Former board chairman Mitchell Fleischer resigned from the board last month.

Co-op CEO Christine Oliver said the addition of five new board members was one part of a series of comprehensive steps being taken to address concerns identified by the state’s top insurance regulator who last month denied the co-op permission to sell insurance in the state.

Oliver said Susan Donegan, the commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, had expressed her concerns and the co-op plans to address each of those concerns.

"At the end of the day, we expect to deliver to the commissioner exactly what she is looking for: a stronger health insurance company prepared to succeed financially in its mission to provide Vermonters a more personal alternative to traditional health insurance. We’re more dedicated than ever to delivering this option to Vermonters," Oliver said.

Among Donegan’s concerns were that the premiums that would be charged by the co-op were not competitive and she felt the projected enrollment numbers were too optimistic to support a sizeable debt load.

The co-op has received about $33 million in federal loans to set up the co-op and provide a reserve fund. The co-op hopes to begin providing health insurance to customers under the federal Affordable Care Act on a new state exchange on Jan. 1.