Sunday, November 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Co-Op Insurer Carves Out Unique Niche in NJ's ACA Marketplace

Three health insurers are selling policies on New Jersey's marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare - and only one of them, Health Republic, plans to eventually be run by its members, with enrollees occupying a majority of the board seats, and with profits being put back into the company to either improve coverage or lower premiums.

Co-Op Insurer Carves Out Unique Niche in NJ’s ACA Marketplace

Three health insurers are selling policies on New Jersey’s marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare – and only one of them, Health Republic, plans to eventually be run by its members, with enrollees occupying a majority of the board seats, and with profits being put back into the company to either improve coverage or lower premiums.

Health Republic is one of 23 health-insurance cooperatives established across the country with start-up loans from the federal government. Unlike other insurers, a cooperative is governed by its members and reinvests surplus revenues in more services or cheaper premiums rather than seeking to make a profit.

It is making a point of targeting potential customers in urban areas, conducting recruitment campaigns aimed at commuters, and focusing on New Jersey residents who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but are eligible for subsidies to help pay for coverage.

The two other insurers selling coverage through New Jersey’s federal health exchange are AmeriHealth and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.

As they seek to establish a beachhead in the insurance market, executives at Health Republic admit enrollment has so far come in below expectations, due in part to the glitchy launch last year of the federal website Healthcare.gov.

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