Utah’s first health insurance co-op opens its doors
Utah’s health insurance market is expected to become more competitive as the state’s first health insurance co-op takes form. Arches Health Plan has won approval from Utah regulators and lawmakers and has opened its doors in the state. The non-profit health insurance group is designed as a consumer-driven business, offering consumers the coverage they need at affordable prices. The health insurance co-op will begin open enrollment in October 1 of this year, with policies becoming active on January 1, 2014.
Health insurance group aims to compete with larger companies
Arches Health Plan’s primary task is to provide consumers with affordable health insurance coverage. To do this, the co-op will have to compete with well established and powerful insurance companies like SelectHealth and Regence BlueCross BlueShield. The co-op is backed by an $85 million federal loan, however, which may give the company the edge it needs to compete in Utah’s market. According to CEO Linn Baker, Arches Health Plan has enough reserve capital to pay 500% of its projected claims, well beyond the 200% reserve that is required by state regulations.
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Some 400,000 people may find coverage through co-op
The health insurance co-op is targeting consumers that have traditionally received little attention from large insurance companies. The organization notes that Utah is home to some 400,000 uninsured individuals, many of whom do not have coverage simply because it is too expensive. Through Arches Health Plan, these consumers may be able to find the coverage they need. The co-op does not only focus on consumers, however, as it also introduces a new way for doctors to be paid and how medical care is delivered to those in need.
Co-op changes the way doctors are paid
Typically, insurance companies pay health care professionals for services rendered. Arches Health Plan will assign policyholders to medical homes, paying health care providers a lump sum that is meant to provide incentive to keep people healthy. Specialty care will be carried out at Utah’s hospitals. The idea is to encourage health care providers to keep patients healthy for as long as possible, highlighting preventative care, and avoiding treating only patients that can be considered seriously ill.