The Secretary shall establish a program to carry out the purposes of this section to be known as the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO–OP) program.
It is the purpose of the CO–OP program to foster the creation of qualified nonprofit health insurance issuers to offer qualified health plans in the individual and small group markets in the States in which the issuers are licensed to offer such plans.
If no health insurance issuer applies to be a qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer within a State, the Secretary may use amounts appropriated under this section for the awarding of grants to encourage the establishment of a qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer within the State or the expansion of a qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer from another State to the State.
Not later than July 1, 2013, and prior to awarding loans and grants under the CO–OP program, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations with respect to the repayment of such loans and grants in a manner that is consistent with State solvency regulations and other similar State laws that may apply. In promulgating such regulations, the Secretary shall provide that such loans shall be repaid within 5 years and such grants shall be repaid within 15 years, taking into consideration any appropriate State reserve requirements, solvency regulations, and requisite surplus note arrangements that must be constructed in a State to provide for such repayment prior to awarding such loans and grants.
The advisory board under this paragraph shall consist of 15 members appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States from among individuals with qualifications described in section 1395b–6(c)(2) of this title.
Any individual appointed under subparagraph (A) shall meet ethics and conflict of interest standards protecting against insurance industry involvement and interference.
Any vacancy on the advisory board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
Except as provided in clause (ii), a member of the advisory board may not receive pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the board.
Chapter 10 of title 5 shall apply to the advisory board, except that section 1013 of title 5 shall not apply.
An organization shall not be treated as a qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer unless any profits made by the organization are required to be used to lower premiums, to improve benefits, or for other programs intended to improve the quality of health care delivered to its members.
An organization shall not be treated as a qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer unless the organization meets all the requirements that other issuers of qualified health plans are required to meet in any State where the issuer offers a qualified health plan, including solvency and licensure requirements, rules on payments to providers, and compliance with network adequacy rules, rate and form filing rules, any applicable State premium assessments and any other State law described in section 18044(b) of this title.
An organization shall not be treated as a qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer unless the organization does not offer a health plan in a State until that State has in effect (or the Secretary has implemented for the State) the market reforms required by part A of title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 300gg et seq.] (as amended by subtitles A and C of this Act).
Qualified nonprofit health insurance issuers participating in the CO–OP program under this section may establish a private purchasing council to enter into collective purchasing arrangements for items and services that increase administrative and other cost efficiencies, including claims administration, administrative services, health information technology, and actuarial services.
The private purchasing council established under paragraph (1) shall not set payment rates for health care facilities or providers participating in health insurance coverage provided by qualified nonprofit health insurance issuers.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the application of the antitrust laws to any private purchasing council (whether or not established under this subsection) or to any qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer participating in such a council.
For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antitrust laws” has the meaning given the term in subsection (a) of section 12 of title 15. Such term also includes section 45 of title 15 to the extent that such section 45 applies to unfair methods of competition.
No representative of any Federal, State, or local government (or of any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof), and no representative of a person described in subsection (c)(2)(A), may serve on the board of directors of a qualified nonprofit health insurance issuer or with a private purchasing council established under subsection (d).
Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing the Secretary to interfere with the competitive nature of providing health benefits through qualified nonprofit health insurance issuers.
There are hereby appropriated, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $6,000,000,000 to carry out this section.
The Comptroller General of the General Accountability Office shall conduct an ongoing study on competition and market concentration in the health insurance market in the United States after the implementation of the reforms in such market under the provisions of, and the amendments made by, this Act. Such study shall include an analysis of new issuers of health insurance in such market.
The Comptroller General shall, not later than December 31 of each even-numbered year (beginning with 2014), report to the appropriate committees of the Congress the results of the study conducted under paragraph (1), including any recommendations for administrative or legislative changes the Comptroller General determines necessary or appropriate to increase competition in the health insurance market.