DES MOINES, Iowa (6/4/13)--Credit unions in Iowa and Nebraska will partner with CoOportunity Health to offer affordable, cooperative health insurance options for individuals, families and businesses starting this fall.
Like credit unions, CoOportunity Health is a not-for-profit organization. It is a new health insurance consumer operated and oriented plan (CO-OP) created as part of the Affordable Care Act to create new competition and new choice.
It is one of 24 CO-OPs approved nationwide, but the only one to serve Iowa and Nebraska. CoOportunity Health is managed by and for its members. Any savings will be used to increase member benefits and lower premiums, similar to the mission of credit unions.
Iowa and Nebraska credit unions will be the exclusive financial institution distribution channel for CoOportunity Health when open enrollment for health insurance begins Oct. 1. Between the two states, there are more than 180 credit unions serving about 1.45 million members.
"CoOportunity Health's mission and philosophy are perfectly aligned with credit unions and we believe that by working together, we can have a tremendous impact by educating Iowans and Nebraskans on the pending changes in healthcare while providing them a new, member-focused choice for health insurance," said Dave Lyons CoOportunity Health CEO.
The partnership among the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL), Nebraska Credit Union League (NCUL) and CoOportunity Health has been in development for more than two years. It is believed to be the first of its kind among cooperatives nationwide. It will give participating Iowa and Nebraska credit unions the tools to provide member outreach and education on healthcare reform while making CoOportunity Health's insurance options available to individuals, families and businesses.
Among the priorities for the leagues is helping members credit unions decrease the average age of members and increase market share. Through the partnership, potential target markets will be young adults, the uninsured, Hispanics and small businesses, the leagues and CoOportunity Health said.
"Credit unions know that financial well-being is directly linked to overall health and well-being. We believe this link will only increase in the months and years ahead," said Patrick S. Jury, ICUL president/CEO. "Credit unions serve as trusted advisors in their local communities. Through our partnership with CoOportunity Health, our members and those who seek out membership will have access to vital information and new health insurance options at a time of great confusion and need."
Under the partnership, credit unions can establish Health Savings Accounts when a prospect enrolls in a qualified high-deductible health insurance plan through CoOportunity Health.
Group Benefits Ltd. (GBL) will serve as the preferred broker for the credit union/CoOportunity Health partnership in both states. Based in Urbandale, Iowa, GBL has been in business for nearly 20 years and manages benefits for 2,000 employer groups and 30,000 individuals.
"Credit unions have a long-standing relationship with GBL and they will be an excellent partner in offering CoOportunity Health products to our membership," said Scott Sullivan, CEO at the Nebraska league. "Through our partnership with CoOportunity Health and GBL, Iowa and Nebraska credit unions will be able to help our members closely pair the expense of healthcare with their financial well-being."
Credit unions in both states also are looking into CoOportunity Health's group health insurance plans as an option for their employees.