The COGCare Insurance Cooperative

COGCare is a healthcare insurance cooperative serving the interests of Councils of Governments (COGs) and their members throughout the western half of Pennsylvania. The organization is led by a board of directors that includes leaders from various COGs in the region. COGCare provides programs and services that benefit COGs and their member boroughs, townships, cities, counties and authorities of all sizes.

COGCare was created with the following objectives in mind:

  • To promote healthy competition in the health insurance market
  • To gain collective strength in negotiating rates and benefits for area COGs and their member municipalities and local government employers
  • To reduce insurance rates where possible and make renewal rates manageable and predictable
  • To serve as a catalyst for improving carrier service and performance and thereby enhancing employee satisfaction

Founded by COG Leaders for COG Members

COGCare Member COGs
Beaver County Regional COG
Butler County COG
Central Westmoreland COG
Char-West COG
Cross Creek Valley Regional Planning Commission
French Creek COG
Lawrence County Regional COG
North Hills COG
Northwest PA Tri-County COG
Quaker Valley COG
South Hills Area COG (SHA-COG)
Steel Valley COG
Turtle Creek COG
Twin Rivers COG

In 2010, Jeff Smith, executive director of the Butler County COG, initiated a

dialogue with other COGs and municipal representatives in an effort to collectively identify ways to slow the rising cost of health insurance.

After months of discussion and planning and with additional guidance from COG leaders Larry Googins, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Council of Governments and the Beaver County Regional COG, and Robert Callen, executive director of the Lawrence County Regional COG and Beaver County Regional COG, COGCare was formed.

The New COGCare Healthcare Program – Partnership with PMHIC and UnitedHealthcare

COGCare remains at the forefront of opportunity during the ever changing healthcare landscape.  As such, we have partnered with the PA Municipal Health Insurance Cooperative (PMHIC) and UnitedHealthcare to bring meaningful, cost-saving solutions to COG members.

PMHIC offers a unique approach that has been proven successful since 2006.  PMHIC serves more than 200 local governments and related agencies and growing.  Those organizations have shared in a combined refunded savings of approximately $80 million since the program began.  Plus, average healthcare increases each year have been in the single digits.  The program design is based on the concept of “strength in numbers,” to deliver results while protecting individual groups from risk under an actuarial designed self-funded model.   

Historically, only municipal entities in the eastern portion of Pennsylvania have had access to the PMHIC program until now…through COGCare.

Here are some key elements of the program:

  • Gain collective strength in negotiating favorable pricing for member municipalities and local government employers
  • Provide stability in pricing….renewal rates manageable and predictable
  • Offer flexibility in benefit design to meet union requirements
  • Access the UnitedHealthcare provider network which includes both the UPMC Health System and Allegheny Health Network physicians and hospitals
  • Maintain a cooperative working relationship with broker partners
  • Allow Pennsylvania local governments to efficiently and safely access the self-insurance market
  • Offer various ancillary products (dental, vision, life/AD&D) at a much lower cost to members
  • Eliminate premium taxes and many other burdens under healthcare reform

We encourage you seek a quote by calling the COGCare Hotline at 724-940-9416.

PMHIC is administered and supported by Benecon, a leader in developing, managing and expanding the health purchasing cooperative market with more than 20 years’ experience.

The Previous Partnership with UPMC Health Plan

COGCare would like to extend our gratitude to our initial partner UPMC Health Plan.  Following a competitive bidding process in 2010, the COGCare Board of Directors determined that one carrier - UPMC Health Plan - met all of COGCare's criteria. Based on this determination, COGCare and UPMC Health Plan formed a partnership that allows COG members to offer high-quality, affordable healthcare to their employees at a preferred price.  The program saved COG members millions of dollars in health insurance premiums in the years that followed.

With the implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), rules changed for health insurance carriers which had a direct impact on COGCare and its membership. PPACA prevents insurance carriers from offering discounted fully insured medical rates and multi-year rate guarantees.  As such, UPMC Health Plan could no longer support the COGCare health insurance program as intended.  While the formal agreement between UPMC Health Plan and COGCare expired in 2014, a PPACA transition provision commonly referred to as "grandmothering" has permitted UPMC Health Plan to continue to honor commitments made to existing COGCare groups for a period of time beyond 2014.  COGCare is grateful for UPMC Health Plan’s willingness to support our members in this fashion.

About Council of Governments (COGs)

COGs are non-profit organizations representing government entities such as boroughs, townships, cities, counties and authorities. COGs are organized throughout Pennsylvania and their members include virtually every municipality and county government within the counties they are located.

The COGs were initiated as a result of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1972. They act as mutual forums to discuss and bring into focus regional challenges and opportunities, collect and maintain data of regional interest, improve communication, coordination and intergovernmental cooperation among all levels of government, facilitate cooperative agreements, provide technical assistance, managed intergovernmental services and coordinate federal, state and local cooperatives of regional importance.