CoOportunity Health Enrolls 35,000 by Jan. 1

By Chelsea Keenan, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - More than 35,000 people enrolled in CoOportunity Health, the nonprofit health insurance co-op in Iowa and Nebraska, by the start of 2014, which surpassed the organization's first-year goal of 12,000 members.

About two-thirds of members are from Nebraska and the other third are from Iowa, according to the Des Moines-based health insurance group. The majority of membership is comprised of individuals, with more than 14,300 Nebraskans, and 8,100 Iowans, including those in the new Iowa Marketplace Choice Plan that resulted from the state of Iowa alternative to Medicaid expansion.

The remaining members are from approximately 1,300 employer groups.

Cliff Gold, CoOportunity Health's chief operating officer, said in November that the group anticipated enrolling about 7,000 Iowans by the end of its first year and between 15,000 to 25,000 by the end of its first three years.

CoOportunity Health also reported its membership split fairly evenly among those under 30 years old, those between 30 and 49 years old, and those between 50 and 64 years old.

The organization had projected enrollment goals of 12,000, 31,000, and 52,000 members in its first three years on its application for federal loans.

It believes the early success stemmed from its decision to sell on and off the Marketplaces as well as to offer products to employer groups and individuals.

"Exceeding our enrollment projections for the first two years, this early certainly feels good, but with that comes significant responsibilities to serve our member owners exceptionally well," said David Lyons, CEO of CoOportunity Health, in a press release.

The Affordable Care Act created health co-ops to provide consumers with more insurance options and to bring more competition at the state level. The Iowa and Nebraska Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan was one of the first seven co-ops funded and received approval in February 2012.

There are 23 co-ops across the country.
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