Colorado Health Co-Op Has 10% Marketshare

Signups for the health insurance plans through the federal Affordable Care Act hit 3 million this week. Enrollments for at least one of the nonprofit healthcare co-ops the law set up are picking up steam, too.

Colorado HealthOp, one of the nonprofit health insurance co-ops set up due to the ACA, announced today that approximately 7,438 Coloradans have enrolled on the plan. One of the key features of the ACA, nonprofit co-ops are driven entirely by members and promise low costs for enrollees.

Colorado HealthOp said that it has a 10 percent market share among Coloradans who bought insurance through the state’s health insurance marketplace.

“We are very encouraged by our enrollment numbers,” said Julia Hutchins, chief executive officer of Colorado HealthOP. “They really affirm that our member-driven, cooperative business model is not only attractive but necessary to Colorado consumers.”

Enrollment is particularly high in Boulder County (27 percent), Summit County (22 percent), Park County (21.7 percent), and Denver County (11.8 percent).

“We are very pleased with our progress,” said Hutchins. “When we applied for our loans two years ago we estimated that we would enroll around 7,000 members by January 2014. We have enrolled nearly 7,500 members, which puts us above our target.”

On average, more than 60 people per day have signed up for Colorado HealthOP policies.

The average age of Colorado HealthOP enrollees is two years younger than all Coloradans who have enrolled on the state marketplace.  Open enrollment for the ACA plans will continue through March 31.

Hutchins credits Colorado HealthOp’s business model, which gives consumers direct control over their insurance, for the early success they are having.

Members also appear to be pleased with Colorado HealthOp’s services. Brian Novak, a 41-year old self-employed resident of Denver started looking into the co-op after he didn’t have any luck finding plans that worked for him on the exchange.

“I was intrigued by the idea of a nonprofit health insurance company,” said Novak. “It resonated with me because they are proactive about keeping members costs down and member health a priority.” When asked specifically the features he liked about his new plan, which he signed up for on Jan. 1, he mentioned that he liked the lower deductibles he could get by doing certain tasks. For example, if he filled out a quick survey about his health before a checkup, Colorado HealthOp would lower his deductible.

“I liked that they were encouraging members to be proactive about managing their own health,” he said. Before signing on with Colorado HealthOp, Novak was on a plan through Cover Colorado, which was the only option he could afford given that he had a pre-existing condition (the ACA now forbids insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions).

“My choices were extremely limited,” he explained.