Kentucky Health Cooperative One Step Closer
The Kentucky Department of Insurance just approved Kentucky Health Cooperative’s (“KYHC”) entry into the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s HMO insurance market. With this endorsement, KYHC will now be allowed to offer health plans to hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians beginning in October 2013. Benefits are set to begin in January 2014—the deadline for when most citizens will be required to have health insurance under the laws of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).
KYHC, based in Louisville, was previously selected by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to receive loans to create and operate a Consumer Oriented and Operated Plan (“CO-OP”) in the state. The ACA has appropriated $3.8 billion to finance the CO-OP program and award loans and grants to establish CO-OP entities. A CO-OP performs the same functions as an insurance company, but is a non-profit, member-run organization that focuses on a single state market. The goal of the CO-OP program is to increase competition among insurers, reduce premiums, and raise the standard of health care insurance.
KYHC is sponsored by a coalition of providers and business leaders. A suitable comparison to KYHC is the rural electric cooperatives that exist in the state. With lower overhead than typical insurance companies and a consumer-friendly approach, KYHC aims to provide more affordable health care options to individuals and small businesses across the Commonwealth.
CO-OPs face numerous hurdles (as previously discussed on August 23, 2012, Kentucky Health Cooperative Insurance, Available in 2014) and there is still much work to be done. However, with the Kentucky Department of Insurance’s thumbs-up, it looks like KYHC is one step closer to offering affordable, high-quality health care to Kentuckians.