What are Consumer Operated Health Plans (CO-OPs) and How Do they Benefit Small Businesses?
What are Consumer Operate and Oriented Health Plans?
More commonly referred to as CO-OPs, these health plans have a single primary purpose, according to The Commonwealth Fund, to promote the long-term health and well-being of their customers as affordably as possible. The federal government is investing heavily in these startups in hopes of providing creative solutions to the healthcare problems throughout the country. They are investing by providing funding to help these programs get started and by also exempting them from paying federal taxes.
How Do CO-OPs Help Small Businesses?
Many small business owners want to offer benefits to their employees. They know it’s necessary in order to compete for talented employees. However, the high costs of health insurance for employees have always made the gesture impractical in the past. CO-OPs are private nonprofit health insurance companies. The fact that they aren’t “for profit” agencies means they are able to offer options traditional insurers, who have investors and boards to answer to, cannot. It helps keep the prices lower while offering more innovative and creative treatment options to the insured.
When Will CO-OP Health Insurance be Available?
HealthAffairs Health Policy Brief explains that, “Starting in October 2013, people without access to coverage through an employer, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program will be able to purchase health plans through health insurance exchanges for coverage taking effect in 2014.” The brief goes on to say that while the initial law required funding for at least one CO-OP in all each of the fifty states, budgetary restraints have limited the number to the 24 CO-OPs that have already been created – for the time being.
There are many benefits to gain as a small business owner, or even a freelancer, or contract worker, for considering the benefits of a CO-OP health plan. Aside from the fact this law requires insurance coverage beginning in 2014, the peace of mind of having insurance coverage is a huge weight off the shoulders of small business owners everywhere.
To learn more about Consumer Operated Health Plans and how they can benefit your small business, we encourage you to speak to us.