The new co-op will target its products toward small businesses within the state.
Starting on October 1, when the health insurance exchange will be opening for enrollment in Michigan, small businesses and individuals will now have an additional option to compare and consider, from the Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan.
The organization is based in East Lansing and will now be listed on the federal exchange for the state.
The health insurance cooperative will be boosting its operations under the leadership of Denny Litos, its CEO. The company received a low-interest federal loan of $72 million in May 2012, in order to create a nonprofit cooperative mutual insurer under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Consumers Mutual will be required to repay its loan by 2033, to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The health insurance company has now received its license from the state so that it could proceed to join the exchange.
Consumers Mutual is one of twenty four health insurance cooperatives that received federal loans that totaled $2 billion. The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services awarded the license to the company last week. Now, individuals and companies with fewer than 50 employees will have the choice from among three different coverage levels which are based on the requirements for essential benefits.
This health insurance coverage will be available through the federal exchange in the state, explained Litos. The policies will also be sold outside the exchange by private agents. He went on to say that “We will be a consumer-driven company and work closely with providers in the state” for improving quality.
Following the first year on the exchange, 51 percent of the Consumers Mutual board will be elected by the health insurance members. There have been 23 employees hired by the company over the past few months as it gets ready for the open enrollment, which will begin in October. It is predicted that five more employees will be hired before the close of 2013, and that next year, another five will be hired. This should bring the company to a total of about 35 employees.