Iowa, Nebraska Leagues in Insurance Alliance for Obamacare
In an effort to offer another health insurance choice, credit unions in Iowa and Nebraska will partner with CoOportunity Health, a multistate co-op, to make it happen.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based CoOportunity Health is a new health insurance consumer-operated and oriented plan that was created as part of the Affordable Care Act to create new competition and new choice, the leagues in those states said.
It is one of 24 co-ops approved nationwide, but the only one to serve Iowa and Nebraska. CoOportunity Health is managed by and for its members and any savings will be used to increase member benefits and lower premiums, according to the leagues.
Iowa and Nebraska credit unions will be the exclusive financial institution distribution channel for CoOportunity Health when open enrollment for health insurance begins on Oct. 1, the leagues said.
Between Iowa and Nebraska, there are more than 180 credit unions serving approximately 1.45 million members.
Group Benefits Ltd. will serve as the preferred broker for the credit union and CoOportunity Health partnership in both states, according to the leagues. GBL is based in Urbandale, Iowa and has more than 40 employees and a network of more than 1,000 agents in Iowa and Nebraska.
“Through our partnership with CoOportunity Health and GBL, Iowa and Nebraska credit unions will be able to help our members closely pair the expense of healthcare with their financial well-being,” said Scott Sullivan, CEO of the Nebraska league.
The partnership among the Iowa and Nebraska leagues and CoOportunity Health has been in development for more than two years and is believed to be the first of its kind among cooperatives nationwide, the leagues said.
It will give participating Iowa and Nebraska credit unions the tools to provide member outreach and education on healthcare reform while making CoOportunity Health’s insurance options available to individuals, families and businesses.
“Credit unions know that financial well-being is directly linked to overall health and well-being. We believe this link will only increase in the months and years ahead,” said Patrick Jury, Iowa league president/CEO.
Two priorities are to help credit unions decrease the average age of members and increase market share, the league said. Through this partnership, CoOportunity Health and credit unions believe potential target markets will be young adults, uninsured, Hispanics and small businesses.
“Credit unions serve as trusted advisors in their local communities,” Jury said. “Through our partnership with CoOportunity Health, our members and those who seek out membership will have access to vital information and new health insurance options at a time of great confusion and need.”
Jury said beyond offering credit union members an affordable, member-focused health insurance alternative, another benefit of the partnership is that credit union health savings accounts can be established when a prospect enrolls in a qualified high-deductible health insurance plan through CoOportunity Health.
Credit unions in both states are also looking into group health insurance plans as an option for their employees, the league said.
Iowa and Nebraska credit unions participating in the program will be announced in the coming month. CoOportunity Health will begin enrollment in October 2013 with effective dates of Jan. 1, 2014.
The leagues said the health insurance partnership comes at an ideal time for credit unions looking to serve the expanded health insurance marketplace expected as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Some estimates predict as many as 30 million previously uninsured Americans will begin shopping for coverage, the leagues said. An additional 80 million currently insured are predicted to begin searching for a new provider when the act becomes law.