Former Blue Cross of Idaho Exec Heads Government-Funded Co-Op

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The former chief marketing officer for Blue Cross of Idaho, the Gem State's largest insurer, has become CEO of a taxpayer-funded insurance company in Montana.

This morning's Missoulian reports that Jerry Dworak has taken the helm of the Montana Health Cooperative, operating with a $58 million loan from the federal government. The co-op, similar to other nonprofits in 16 other states, will be a member-owned health insurer designed to compete with existing insurance carriers. The co-ops aren't expected to launch insurance products until 2014, when the Affordable Care Act triggers insurance exchanges.

Dworak said he expects the Montana co-op to secure 10,000 customers within its first year of operation and 40,000 by its third year.

But Dworak is getting pushback from a Montana congressman. Republican Rep. Dennis Rehberg, chair of a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee, is sponsoring a bill, that among other things, would rescind funds for new health insurance co-ops.