The National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs (NASHCO) has hired Janice VanRiper to be its first executive director.
VanRiper, a lawyer, has been the director of the Montana State Workers' Compensation Fund, the general counsel at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, and Montana's chief deputy insurance commissioner.
Most recently, VanRiper was the director of a health care reform center at the East Carolina University medical school.
VanRiper also is affiliated with the Center for Health Policy and Ethics at Creighton University.
She has a law degree from the University of Montana and a doctorate in applied ethics from the University of Utah.
John Morrison, a former Montana insurance commissioners, continues to be the president of NASHCO's board.
NASHCO is a group for the people who are trying to set up health plans through the new Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) system.
The drafters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) created the CO-OP program in an effort to increase the level of competition in the health insurance market.
PPACA Section 1322 calls for CO-OP plans to sell coverage through the new PPACA health insurance exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, and to get "substantially all" of their business from individuals and small groups.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services already has agreed to provide startup and solvency loans to 23 CO-OP organizing teams, NASCHO says.