State approves Mountain Health CO-OP to sell insurance in Idaho

newsroom@idahostatesman.comJune 16, 2014 

Idaho's health insurance exchange will have at least one more competitor on the market this fall.

The Idaho Department of Insurance on Friday approved Mountain Health CO-OP's application to sell health insurance in Idaho.

The co-op plans to offer coverage through Idaho's health insurance exchange this fall. Those plans will become effective Jan. 1.

The Mountain Health CO-OP, based in Eagle with a staff of 20, is the Idaho branch of Montana Health CO-OP. That co-op started in 2012 with a federal loan. It now has more than 12,000 members in Montana.

Read more: Montana health insurance co-op plans to offer insurance to Idahoans

"The idea of a health insurance CO-OP isn't just to make health insurance more affordable," said Jerry Dworak, CEO of the co-op. "Any profits we make go back to our members in better coverage, lower prices and better care. We're a true CO-OP, and our members are in charge."

Four not-for-profit insurers sold plans in open enrollment last year and early this year through Your Health Idaho, the insurance exchange in Idaho. They were Blue Cross of Idaho, Oregon-based PacificSource, Utah-based Select Health and BridgeSpan, which is a sister company of Regence BlueShield of Idaho.

Mountain Health CO-OP is headquartered in Eagle.

"I'm really proud of what we're trying to do here ... building an entirely new concept of health insurance in partnership with our members, our doctors and our hospitals," said Dr. Doug Dammrose, executive director of Mountain Health CO-OP. "With members in charge of a true non-profit, we're really excited about what we will be able to do to improve Idahoans' access to care and overall health."

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