Created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, co-ops are nonprofit, member-run organizations that will offer health insurance plans on the state exchanges as another option for consumers and businesses. The federal government already has given approval to launch 24 co-ops in 24 states.

In Illinois, the federal government announced a $160-million loan late last year to a hospital trade organization, Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, to establish a health insurance co-op to compete against major insurance carriers in the state.

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