After Colorado's consumer operated and oriented plan (CO-OP), Colorado HealthOP, nabbed almost 40 percent of the state's health insurance exchange market--and beat out the biggest competitor, Kaiser Permanente--HealthOP says that consumers really want a new kind of insurer that focuses on serving individuals and supporting them in staying healthy, reported Health News Colorado.
Colorado HealthOP's enrollment success is mostly because it offered the lowest priced-plans in almost every region in the state.
But perhaps more importantly, it's also a sign that consumers want a different type of insurance company. "I'd love to believe a big part of it is who we are. We're a health insurance CO-OP that is focused on serving individuals," HealthOP CEO Julia Hutchins told HNC. "And individuals are really hungry for a health plan that supports them in being healthy, staying healthy and having a say (in healthcare choices)."
Even though HealthOP experienced a $23 million loss last year, mostly from high medical claims, it shows that uninsured consumers have pent-up demands for healthcare. "(The losses) reflect the very real needs that our members had in the first year of getting coverage. This is no different than what you'd see at any other carrier that is seeing a newly-insured population in the first year," Hutchines added.
Although some industry experts have criticized HealthOP and other CO-OPs for unfairly disrupting markets and reducing subsidies, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported, Hutchins said many consumers shopped based on choice. In fact, about half of HealthOP's new members didn't choose the cheapest plans, but instead opted for more expensive plans with broader provider networks.
"Our goal is to bring affordable healthcare to all Coloradans, to be a transformational option for individuals and to band together to be able to afford and impact their insurance coverage," Hutchins added. "How do we bring high-quality, low-cost coverage to Coloradans?"
The large enrollment gains also show that not all CO-OPs are floundering, particularly now that CoOportunity Health is under liquidation after it lacked sufficient funds to handle its customers' medical claims. In addition to HealthOP, the largest CO-OP in the country, Health Republic, has the highest market share on the New York exchange.
To learn more:
- read the Health News Colorado article