DALLAS, Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs is hosting its 3 rd annual conference this week in Dallas, Texas. Over 225 individuals associated with the CO-OP movement, ranging from CO-OP developers, CO-OP employees, vendors, health policy experts, and health reform advocates are gathered to discuss the most important issues facing health insurance CO-OPs and the health reform movement at large. Notable speakers and participants include CCIIO Director Gary Cohen, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and NAIC President Jim Donelon, Dr. Michael Pramenko of Primary Care Partners in Grand Junction, Colorado, and former Utah Governor Michael Leavitt. "The CO-OP movement has continued to grow, as evidenced by our largest conference yet and the distinguished speakers and participants who have joined us in Dallas," said NASHCO President John Morrison. "Since our last gathering, an additional 17 CO-OPs have signed loan agreements, and our member CO-OPs are hiring full-time staff and being certified by their state insurance boards. By this time next year, CO-OPs will provide a competitive option on the health insurance exchanges in 24 states. We are very excited about the progress CO-OPs have made, and proud of our role in increasing access, affordability, and quality in the health insurance marketplace." Recently, NASHCO has expanded by hiring Dr. Jan VanRiper as its first executive director and CEO and opening a Washington, DC office. NASHCO also recently announced that it has hired a second full-time employee in Robert Heck, who is serving as Dr. VanRiper's executive assistant. The 2013 conference, entitled "Accelerating Innovations in Health Care," will address such topics as how CO-OPs fit into the current health care landscape, lessons learned from a funded CO-OP, progress of the health insurance exchanges, the fiscal cliff, and how CO-OPs fit into state insurance regulations.