DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A new health care cooperative is working to offer Iowa residents two insurance plans that rely on a specific hospital network, the nonprofit announced Monday.
CoOportunity Health said they partnered with the University of Iowa Health Alliance to create the plans, which have been submitted to the Iowa Insurance Division for approval. They hope to offer the plans to those shopping on the new online insurance exchanges or seeking insurance through other channels.
The Alliance is made up of over 50 hospitals and more than 160 clinics across the state, including University of Iowa Health Care and Mercy Health Network.
CoOportunity a nonprofit established with federal loan money to provide additional health care choices in Iowa and Nebraska has applied to offer health care coverage on Iowa's new health care exchange. The state will be partnering with the federal government for the exchange, which will let people shop for coverage and qualify for subsidies and benefits.
Under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, all states must have a health exchange, with enrollment starting Oct. 1 and coverage on Jan. 1.
Lyons said the cooperative intends to offer other plans with wider coverage options, but those may cost more. He declined to discuss premium details for any of the plans, but said the new partnership will provide consumers with more options.
"What this partnership does is to offer a broader range of choices in prices on the exchange or off the exchange," CEO David Lyons said.
Senate President Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, said the partnership between CoOportunity and the University of Iowa Health Alliance was good news for Iowans seeking more insurance options. Currently, the state's market is dominated by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which insures roughly 1.7 million customers in Iowa.
"This is a tremendous step forward for the state of Iowa. We are going to be creating more insurance opportunities to create competition in our state," Jochum said.