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New NAIC health co-op subgroup held multiple unofficial meetings

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New NAIC health co-op subgroup held multiple unofficial meetings

The NAICwill officially create a new panel focused on oversight of consumer operated andoriented plans on April 4, when it approves the 2016 charge for the Health Insuranceand Managed Care Committee's Co-Op Solvency and Receivership Subgroup.

But stateregulators are already well into their work on the issue, following a series ofprivate meetings over the past several months, including one undisclosed sessionthat appeared to circumvent the NAIC's transparency and open meeting standards.

The subgroupheld three conference calls in the past two months, according to the NAIC's officialcalendar, all of which wereprivate "regulator-to-regulator" sessions. State regulators also met todiscuss the co-ops during the organization's November 2015 Fall National meeting,two sources familiar with the meeting said, in a discussion that was not listedon the national meeting's official agenda. Roughly 70 people attended that session,including officials representing 25 states and invited industry members, one sourcewho sat in on the meeting said.

New MexicoInsurance Superintendent John Franchini confirmed the November 2015 meeting, callingit an "ad hoc" discussion held in the midst of the rapid of several co-ops. Despite the broaderindustry attendance, the meeting's informality meant that it did not have to belisted on the meeting's official agenda. The NAIC's open meetings policyrequires that all of its meetings be open to outsiders, barring specific exemptionssuch as the discussion of companies' proprietary information. Even in those cases,closed meetings are typically announced.

But thepolicy applies only to meetings held by official NAIC committees, subcommittees,task forces and subgroups. "Commissioners' conferences and other like meetingsof the members" are excluded from the transparency requirements.

The Co-OpSolvency and Receivership Subgroup emerged soon after the November 2015 session,with the NAIC saying it would approve it as a formal subgroup during this week'sSpring National Meeting. The panel got ahead of that process, though, holding aseries of closed conference calls. That broke with traditional NAIC procedures requiringa group to receive its official charges before beginning work.

The subgroupalso met April 4, in a session that was a late addition to the NAIC's national meetingagenda. Connecticut Insurance Commissioner and subgroup Vice Chair Katharine Wade,who was not involved with the November 2015 meeting, called the conference callsand the most recent in-person session "ad hoc" meetings as well. She didnot elaborate on how that fit with the NAIC's traditional process of approving agroup's charge before it begins work, saying only that the subgroup's charge wouldbe adopted later in the day.

The subgroup'sApril 4 meeting was closed to the public, but Franchini said regulators would specific co-ops and thentalk about the potential for making state-level changes to the Affordable Care Act'srisk adjustment program. National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs CEO Kelly Croweand New Mexico Health ConnectionsCEO Martin Hickey were invited to attend the meeting.

The overarchingHealth Insurance and Managed Care Committee is set to adopt the subgroup's chargeand make its activities official during a 3:30 p.m. CT meeting on April 4.