By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Managed Care Weekly Digest -- When the federal government authorized the creation of Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (co-ops), their hope was that the new organizations would spur innovation, create competition, and give consumers greater say. In Oregon this hope has been realized through Oregon's Health CO-OP, who recently elected three of its own members to the organization's board of directors. This truly non-profit health insurer, who uses its profits to reduce premiums, add services, or pay back it's federal ACA loans, continues its push the health insurance industry in new directions, by giving consumers greater voice and control in the governance of health insurance (see also Oregon's Health CO-OP).
"Traditionally, boards are made up of handpicked individuals," says Dr. Ralph Prows, CEO of Oregon's Health CO-OP. "When you look at us, the majority of our board is actual members who receive health insurance from us. Our newly elected members push this reciprocal relationship even farther. Other members voted them in, and now they'll speak for all members as they help direct our growth and evolution."
This is in step with the Affordable Healthcare Act, and puts Oregon's Health CO-OP ahead of the pace compared with other health insurance companies. And the innovation follows suit. With input from members, Oregon's Health CO-OP offers health plans with 0 deductible, no co-insurance and the inclusion of Naturopaths as primary care physicians.
One of the new board members, Hilary Bradbury, sees this as a revolutionary time in health insurance, and understands where Oregon's Health CO-OP stands in the process.
"Oregon's Health CO-OP is a game changer in the entire health insurance arena," she says. "As a member of the board, I'm excited about helping us grow."
Echoing her sentiments is Andy Kyler, another newly elected board member, and a 34-year veteran of the health care industry.
"In having worked with other health organizations," Kyler says, "Oregon's Health CO-OP is the only one I've seen that brings consumers directly to the table. There's nothing like talking with and engaging directly with the consumer."
For new board member Bjorn Borstelmann, the decision to run for a seat aligned with what attracted him to the CO-OP in the beginning.
"Oregon's Health CO-OP is about simplicity," he says. "Other insurance companies seem way too interested in complicating things for consumers. If you need to go to a doctor, you should go to a doctor, plain and simple. The CO-OP makes it really easy."
Open enrollment is happening now
For Oregonians who have grown tired of business as usual in the health insurance world, they can visit Oregon's Health CO-OP online at any time and shop for a plan. Open enrollment continues until February 15, 2015. For coverage that starts on January 1, the deadline is December 15. People can also learn more by phone at 1-844-694-9292, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords for this news article include: Democracy, Health Insurance, Oregon's Health CO-OP.
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