CSMS and CSMS-IPA file intent to form non-profit health CO-OP

The Connecticut State Medical Society and the Connecticut State Medical Society-IPA have filed a letter of intent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeking selection of HealthyCT to become a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This non-profit entity launched by CSMS and the CSMS-IPA would offer consumers and employers primarily in the individual and small-business market another choice of health insurance through the state’s newly created health insurance exchange.

The CO-OP’s board would be comprised of physicians and consumers. The physician network would be provided by the CSMS-IPA, an independent practice association dedicated to preserving and supporting independent physician practices in the state of Connecticut. It is the largest and only statewide IPA. Together, CSMS and the CSMS-IPA have been meeting with federal and state agencies to discuss necessary steps to file the CO-OP application and launch the CO-OP consistent with state and federal requirements.

“As physicians — and as employers and consumers ourselves — we know that it’s time Connecticut had more options in the health insurance marketplace from an insurer that puts patients before profits,” said David S. Katz, MD, CSMS immediate past president. “We at CSMS know from our own involvement fighting rate hikes on behalf of our patients that they don’t have access to insurance options that focus on quality of medical care and emphasize the patient-physician relationship.”

“The participating providers of the CSMS-IPA are excited to help sponsor an initiative to develop a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) that will change how health care is purchased and delivered in Connecticut,” said David Thompson, MD, CSMS-IPA president. “The payment models and legacy systems used by existing health plan payors have proven to be major impediments to the fundamental changes that are required to make health insurance more affordable to consumers and employers. As small business owners, physicians are well aware of the financial burden health care benefits impose on employers.”

HealthyCT must file a full application with DHHS by October 17 to receive full consideration for CO-OP status and notification of approval on or around January 12, 2012. The CO-OP will be working to become fully operational on the state health insurance exchange in 2014.