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What if your health insurance company answered to you? What if it could be held accountable for its policies and fees through member elections?
I just got back from a meeting of the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange, where they are discussing a new form of insurance that promises to bring greater competition to the health insurance industry by giving consumers greater choice and greater voice in their own care
Health insurance CO-OPs (Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans) will be opening up shop in Oregon soon. Like credit unions, CO-OPs will be non-profit organizations run by an elected board and mandated to foster and maintain member control. CO-OPs hope to offer their customers more for their money by focusing their resources on providing quality care in keeping with the values of the community they serve.
Funded in part by the federal Affordable Care Act, CO-OPs will become available to Oregonians through the Exchange starting in 2014. In the Exchange, CO-OP plans will be in direct competition with traditional health insurance plans. Done right, this competition could lead to innovations and improvements in care for all Oregonians who receive coverage through the Exchange.
CO-OPs alone will not fix everything that’s wrong with the health insurance industry, and OSPIRG and our allies will be sure to watchdog them just like all other insurance plans. But in combination with a strong Exchange that fosters a competitive marketplace and holds insurance plans to high quality standards, CO-OPs may have an important role to play.
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