Iowa CO-OP hits enrollment target times five

National insurers won't be able to compete on price

CoOportunity Health, a new Consumer Oriented and Operated (CO-OP) plan in Des Moines, Iowa, exceeded 63,000 signups in Iowa and Nebraska with only a few days left in open enrollment. Originally, the insurer expected to cover fewer than 12,000 people in the first year.

“Our membership numbers continue to grow well beyond what we initially estimated,” CEO Cliff Gold said in an email. “We believe people wanted more choice of insurers and more innovative products, and we are gratified so many individuals and employers have selected us.”

Industry observers are anxious to find out if the not-for-profit CO-OPs with their federal grants and loans will give national, for-profit insurers a run for their money. While the new plans need to have adequate reserves and must follow the same laws as other carriers, they will most likely have a cost advantage by comparison.

What’s noteworthy about CoOportunity enrollment is that the total reflects 36,003 off-exchange enrollments, according to Leigh McGivern, spokesperson.

As of March 25, the last date for which category totals were available, CoOportunity has enrolled:


In Iowa

·         Individual/Family members: 14,877 (8,321 on exchange/6,556 off exchange)

·         Small group members: 7,118 (316 were on SHOP, "even though SHOP isn’t functioning, we manually went in so the employers could get tax credits," McGivern says.)

·         Large group members: 274


In Nebraska

·         Individual/Family members: 25,504 (16,026 on exchange/9,478 off exchange)

·         Small group members: 10,527 (293 on SHOP Marketplace)

·         Large group members: 2,659