Federal loans help create SC's non-profit healthcare company - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Federal loans help create SC's non-profit healthcare company

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The health insurance marketplace opened earlier to this week to plenty of delay and frustration, but one of the insurance companies featured in the exchange and vying for your business is unlike other insurance options that have been available before.

There are four insurance companies featured on the healthcare exchange website here in South Carolina. But only one is billing itself as a non-profit, Healthcare Cooperative, which was created from provisions found in the Affordable Care Act.

Adrian Grimes can't remember a time when she didn't have health insurance.

"As old as I am, I've always been covered, but I've never had a voice or a say," said Grimes. "We pay premiums and hope they cover it."

But staff at Consumers Choice Health Plan say their clients can expect a lot more from their non-profit co-op insurance model.

"Any savings we make by focusing on prevention go right back into the plan to keep it high quality," said Grimes.

The focus of the Cooperative is on maintaining health, not just restoring it, and that means they plan to keep a close eye on members.

"If you have a health worker saying, 'We have a mobile mammography this Tuesday in Saluda,' that is a difference," said Julie Bateman, the clinical operations director for the Cooperative.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 75 percent of our nation's healthcare costs go towards treating preventable conditions.

Although they only opened their doors a year ago, Consumers Choice already has a network of providers in place across the state, especially in rural areas.

"We are going to be hiring community health workers who will know about transportation help for our members in rural communities," said Bateman.

The Consumers Choice Health Plan is funded through an $87 million federal loan. Staff say delays on the Healthcare.gov website have kept their enrollment numbers close to zero so far, but they're optimistic they'll capture a significant portion of the roughly 700,000 uninsured South Carolinians who may be seeking coverage.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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