The state Insurance Department approved an insurance license for HealthyCT, allowing the new nonprofit to sell health plans in Connecticut, the nonprofit and department said Tuesday.
HealthyCT is a federally recognized Consumer-Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, and its board of directors will be comprised of health-plan members. As a nonprofit, profits from the business will be used to stabilize or reduce premiums to consumers and businesses or to enhance benefits in its health plans, the nonprofit said.
HealthyCT will compete with private insurers, such as Aetna or UnitedHealthcare, in selling health plans to individuals and small businesses, including those who shop later this year on a health exchange. An exchange is an online marketplace for people who shop individually for health insurance, and states have created health exchanges as a part of federal health care reform.
The federal Affordable Care Act brought in sweeping changes to health insurance markets, and among those changes are federal loans for Consumer-Operated and Oriented Plan. HealthyCT acquired a contract from the federal government to operate as a CO-OP and received $76 million in start-up and solvency loans in June 2012 after a review process by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“We have said all along that we wanted to offer an alternative to for-profit health insurance plans, but to do that, we had to satisfy regulatory standards and provide evidence that our business plan is sound and that we can deliver,” HealthyCT CEO Ken Lalime said in a prepared statement. “We did, and we will.”