Listen to consumer opinions

Special report: 5 secrets to exchange enrollment success from CoOportunity Health

By Dina Overland

"Even before we turned in an application to be a CO-OP, even before we put the business plan together, we went out and met with key consumer groups, held consumer focus and survey discussions and did quite a bit of pre work about whether the concept of merging an insurance entity and co-operative non-profit structure would work," CoOportunity Health CEO David Lyons (pictured right) told FierceHealthPayer in an exclusive interview.

All that community outreach was well worth CoOportunity Health's time and investment. It gathered valuable information about what consumers want from an insurance company before it ever designed a business plan. "Getting the input from the consumers allowed us to go right back out to them with the types of products and designs that make them interested," Lyons said.

That's why CoOportunity Health designed its products to appeal to people who actually use their insurance rather than for people who hope they never need the coverage. It also based its health plans on how consumers use insurance instead of how insurers price health coverage.

For example, consumers told CoOportunity Health they want insurance coverage that's simple and focused on benefits. They don't want to determine whether there's a co-pay or if they already met their out-of-pocket maximum. "Consumers said keep it simple, so we offer three-for-free--you see a doctor the first three times without any out-of-pocket deductibles," Lyons explained. The three-for-free plan includes primary care, specialists, chiropractors and outpatient behavioral health and applies to each member on a family plan.