Connecticut's newly formed health insurance co-op has contracted with Altruista Health Inc. of Reston, Va., to provide the co-op with software that will identify the sickest patients who are in the greatest need of a disease management or care plan.

Connecticut's HealthyCT is one of two dozen new, federally recognized Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans across the nation. It is a nonprofit health insurer with a board of directors that will be made up of health-plan members, and profits will be used to either reduce premiums or enhance benefits.

HealthyCT hired Altruista to implement its GuidingCare software and Web-based care management system. The price and duration of the contract were not disclosed.

The CO-OP will compete with private insurers, such as Aetna or UnitedHealthcare, in selling health plans to individuals and small businesses, including those who shop later this year on a health exchange. An exchange is an online marketplace for people who shop individually for health insurance, and states have created health exchanges as a part of federal health care reform.

HealthyCT acquired a contract from the federal government to operate as a CO-OP and received $76 million in start-up and solvency loans in June 2012 after a review process by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.