April 29, 2013
Illinois' first and only consumer operated and oriented health insurance organization (CO-OP), Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company, has received its Class 1 insurance license from the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI), becoming the first new mutual insurance company to be licensed in Illinois in 25 years.
"I want the residents of Illinois to have access to quality, affordable health care that meets their needs and keeps them healthy," Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said. "The Land of Lincoln CO-OP is a welcome addition to the health insurance market of Illinois, and I thank them for taking advantage of this opportunity under the Affordable Care Act to form a consumer-owned and operated company. We must do everything we can to make health insurance affordable for all."
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all Americans will be required to have health insurance coverage beginning in 2014. Illinoisans will be able to purchase insurance through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace which will launch on October 1, 2013. Some Illinoisans will be eligible for federal support in purchasing insurance through the marketplace.
"The Department of Insurance is pleased to announce that Land of Lincoln has met the requirements for state licensure and we're pleased that Illinois residents and small business owners will have another option for affordable, quality health insurance coverage through access to the CO-OP," said DOI Director Andrew Boron. "Land of Lincoln must now file its Quality Health Plan products by the April 30 deadline for consideration to offer plans through the Marketplace."
Land of Lincoln will offer Illinoisans national health care plans designed to meet their health needs no matter where they are when they need care. With Land of Lincoln's consumer-based approach, all extra dollars will go back to consumers and providers to improve care. Land of Lincoln will also help Illinoisans find a quality plan that fits within their family budgets by helping enrollees obtain the financial discounts provided in the new health care law.
"Land of Lincoln is honored to have the opportunity to serve Illinoisans who are seeking affordable health insurance," said Dan Yunker, CEO of Land of Lincoln and Senior Vice President of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council. "We are committed to engaging with people from all communities and making their needs our highest priority. Consumers who entrust Land of Lincoln with their health care coverage will experience an unparalleled level of consumer commitment and service when they need it the most."
In December, Land of Lincoln received approval and $160 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to form a consumer operated and oriented plan as part of federal health care reform. Later this year, individuals as well as small businesses will be able to purchase Land of Lincoln coverage through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace and also private insurance exchanges. For more information about Land of Lincoln, visit www.landoflincolnhealth.org or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/landoflincolnhealth) and Twitter (@landlincolncoop).
February 28, 2013
Twenty-four "consumer operated and oriented plans" will offer coverage through health insurance exchanges.
What's the issue?
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. These new marketplaces are one of the Affordable Care Act's key mechanisms for expanding affordable coverage.
Recognizing that in some states only a small number of insurance companies offer coverage for individuals and small businesses, the health care law also established a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program to increase competition among plans and improve consumer choice. The federal government has now awarded nearly $2 billion in loans to help create 24 new CO-OPs in 24 states. The CO-OP sponsors - consumer-run groups, membership associations, and other nonprofit organizations - are now moving forward to offer health coverage in competition with established commercial and nonprofit insurance companies.
Many analysts are enthusiastic about the potential for CO-OPs to bring competition and choice to the market. Others question whether the federal loan initiative has been a wise use of taxpayer dollars, since many CO-OPs will be at a disadvantage competing against well-established insurance companies and may fail. This policy brief describes the CO-OP program and examines issues related to its implementation and likelihood of success.
February 13, 2013
Land of Lincoln Health, Inc., is pleased to learn that the State of Illinois' health insurance marketplace platform has received approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today. As Illinois' first and only consumer operated and oriented plan, Land of Lincoln plans to offer high-quality, affordable health insurance options through the state insurance marketplace.
"This is a significant milestone in advancing federal health care reform implementation in Illinois and ensuring that the more than one million uninsured Illinoisans have access to health insurance by 2014," said Dan Yunker, CEO of Land of Lincoln and Senior Vice President of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council. "We are pleased that with this approval the state can continue to move forward in furthering our shared mission to improve access to care in Illinois."
On December 21, 2012, Land of Lincoln received approval and $160 million in federal loans from HHS to form a consumer operated and oriented plan. Once licensed by the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI), Land of Lincoln will offer Illinoisans an insurance option designed to meet their health needs and family budgets, all in the communities where they seek care. Land of Lincoln has been working hand-in-hand with state and federal partners to launch this unique nonprofit and appreciates the tremendous support it has received from HHS and DOI.
February 12, 2012
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act set up loads of new funds and programs to insure more Americans affordably. One of those was a $6 billion allotment for non-profit health insurance companies called Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or CO-OPs.
The idea was that having consumer-governed, non-profit health plans would result in less overhead, and all profits would be funneled back into the CO-OP to lower premiums, expand benefits or secure cash reserves. For such a large federal program, the only time CO-OPs received less media attention than their birth was their death early this year.
Startup and capital loans from HHS were intended to set up CO-OPs in each state, but just 24 proposed plans received federal funding before a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" was passed by Congress in early January that cut the remaining $2.3 billion from allotted funds. The 24 approved CO-OPs will still operate and keep their funding, but for the rest that were still applying or waiting for approval have little chance of taking off without hundreds of millions in startup capital from other sources.
Illinois' Land of Lincoln Health was the last CO-OP proposal to be approved for funding from HHS, earning a $145 million loan to fill its cash reserves and a $15 million startup loan.
"We are a startup, but we're not a startup in search of capital," says Land of Lincoln Chairman Kevin Scanlan.