(Bloomberg) — U.S. health insurers soon will have company — and competition — in Maryland: a nonprofit started by a county government that plans to sell coverage at rates as much as 30% lower than competitors.

Backed by $65 million in federal loans, Howard County, a suburban area south of Baltimore, will become the first municipality to establish a nonprofit, member-run health co-op to compete with commercial insurers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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