Illinois regulators step in to help Land of Lincoln Health

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois regulators are stopping a struggling insurance company from paying $31.8 million it owes the federal government in a move meant to protect the insurer’s more than 40,000 customers.

Chicago-based Land of Lincoln Health is one of the Affordable Care Act’s surviving nonprofit insurance co-ops. The co-ops were funded by low-interest federal loans and established to increase competition. But many co-ops — including Land of Lincoln — have been faltering financially.

Land of Lincoln owes money in a risk adjustment program under the health care law. The Illinois Department of Insurance says in a June 30 letter to the federal government that Land of Lincoln must not pay until it gets what it’s owed by the feds — nearly $73 million — under a separate provision of the health law.