Co-op Health Insurance Plans See Early Success

Nonprofit, member-owned cooperatives aim to create more competition and drive prices down.

The names of the big health insurance companies are familiar — Blue Cross, Aetna, United Healthcare. But what about CoOportunity Health, or Health Republic Insurance of New York? These are among 23 new health insurance companies that started under the Affordable Care Act. They're all nonprofit, member-owned cooperatives, and the aim is to create more competition and drive prices down.

Funded almost entirely by federal government loans this year, initial enrollment numbers look pretty good for a lot of co-ops, but that’s not necessarily enough to make them successful.

There are definitely people out there who are stoked about being able to buy their health insurance through a co-op. Karl Sutton is one of those people.

Sutton lives in an incredibly scenic part of Montana just south of Glacier National Park. Tall dark forests, and taller mountains are blanketed white in still bitterly cold early March.

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Source: Kaiser Health News