Since announcing their alliance with CoOportunity Health over the summer, the Iowa and Nebraska credit union leagues have spent the bulk of their time training and educating credit unions about what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act really means for members.
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Between the two states, 45 credit unions have signed on with CoOportunity Health, a Des Moines, Iowa-based co-op that will offer insurance options through broker Group Benefits Ltd., in Urbandale, Iowa, according to Murray Williams, chief operating officer at the Iowa Credit Union League and chief administrative officer with Affiliates Management Co.
“Every credit union has identified a point person to lead this initiative. The Affordable Care Act was new to them, just like everyone else,” Williams said. “So, there’s been education on what the changes are, what’s going on with health insurance and why it’s all important to members.”
For the most part, members have been asking about their options and “what’s going on,” Williams said. He said the new health care reform act offers credit unions the opportunity to be trusted advisers to help navigate through the changes.
Because there were some restrictions on how co-ops could brand and market themselves prior to Tuesday’s open enrollment date for the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace under the Obamacare, Williams said only time will tell just how many members will sign on through CoOportunity Health and Group Benefits.
“Health insurance has typically not been an area credit unions have focused on,” Williams said. “However, now, more than ever, physical and financial well-being goes hand in hand. It’s becoming a much larger portion of a family’s expenses.”
In Nebraska, 17 credit unions signed up during the initial stage, said Scott Sullivan, CEO of the Nebraska Credit Union League.
“The feedback regarding our partnership had been extremely positive from credit unions,” Sullivan said. “They appreciate the opportunity to work with a ‘best in class’ health care organization to help their members address their health care questions and needs.”
The Nebraska league’s partnership with CoOportunity Health will better enable credit unions and their members to navigate the new law, Sullivan noted.