Frequently Asked
Questions

  1. What is Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is a Wisconsin non-profit member governed cooperative dedicated to providing affordable, innovative health insurance solutions to small businesses, non-profits and individuals in Wisconsin. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative’s vision is to strengthen the common good of the individual and small group market in Wisconsin. With commitments of affordable premium rates, provider payment structures that reward cost control and quality, transparency of cost and quality of providers, and a prompt and accurate payment structure, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will achieve overall better health care for its members.

  2. What is the affiliation between Common Ground, the non-partisan organization operating in SE Wisconsin and Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin?

    Common Ground is a non-profit (501c3) organization made up of 44 member organizations including congregations, small business owners, non-profit organizations, civic organizations and other groups interested in tackling tough social and economic issues facing Southeast Wisconsin. Common Ground developed Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative as a separate entity with a separate management team and board of directors to serve those who struggle to provide affordable health insurance for themselves and their employees.

  3. How did the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin get its start?

    Section 1322 of the Federal Affordable Care Act created the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program to foster the creation of new consumer-governed, private, nonprofit health insurance issuers, known as CO-OPs in every state by providing loans to start their businesses. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative completed a lengthy application which demonstrated their ability to create and sustain (1) consumer operation, control, and focus; (2) solvency and financial stability of coverage; and (3) care coordination, quality and efficiency. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative was the only cooperative based in the state of Wisconsin to receive the funding.

  4. Who will Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin serve?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will serve individuals and small employers in Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Milwaukee, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties.

  5. When will the cooperative become fully operational?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, launched in February 2012, is on track to enroll interested individuals and small employers in their health insurance products beginning October 1, 2013 for coverage that goes into effect January 1, 2014

  6. What makes this program unique?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will be governed by its members which means members are directly involved in the financial and benefit decisions made by the cooperative. When you enroll in other commercial insurance plans, you have no say in the decisions that affect your health care. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will be governed by a board of directors, all of whom must be elected by a majority vote of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative’s members.

  7. Is this a purchasing cooperative or an actual health insurance company?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative announced March 11, 2013 it received their Certificate of Authority from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. The certificate brings the insurance cooperative one-step closer to providing innovative health insurance solutions to southeastern Wisconsin.

  8. Who can become of member of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin?

    Any individual, non-profit or small business will become a member when they purchase health insurance through Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative.

  9. Will my premiums be lower if I enroll in the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative leaders are dedicated to offering the most competitive prices possible and to keep annual premium increases as low as possible.

    Due to the Federal Affordable Care Act, there are numerous provisions that will take effect January 1, 2014 which will impact how insurance carriers will rate their products. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will be required to abide by all of these provisions.

  10. I understand the federal government is providing funding. Is this a government program?

    No, this is not a government program. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is a private, non-profit, insurance company. Several successful health insurance cooperatives currently exist around the country. However, the establishment of additional health insurance member-based organizations has been impeded by the difficulty of obtaining start-up capital and meeting reserve requirements under current market conditions. The CO-OP program was designed to help overcome this barrier to entry in the health insurance market by providing Start-up Loans and Solvency Loans to assist them with meeting State solvency requirements. The loans must be repaid to the federal government.

  11. How might a change to the Affordable Care Act affect the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will monitor any changes to the Affordable Care Act and any developments specific to Wisconsin and will respond as appropriate in the event modifications are required. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will continue operations regardless how the Affordable Care Act gets changed.

  12. I understand this health insurance company will be structured as a non-profit cooperative. What does that mean exactly?

    Any revenue surplus will be used to lower premiums, improve benefits, or for other programs intended to improve the quality of health care delivered to its members. It may be used to expand enrollment, or otherwise contribute to the stability of coverage offered by Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative. Decisions regarding the use of any revenue surplus will be made by the board of directors elected by Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative members.

  13. Why will this work when similar concepts have failed?

    Unlike other initiatives for small employers and individuals, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will not be contracting with an existing for-profit health insurance company to buy insurance and create a purchasing pool. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will be the insurance carrier and with its non-profit, member governed structure, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will provide quality plans that are affordable, coordinated, and responsive. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative leaders have a strong vision for improving the health of members and for controlling the health care costs of its members which are the key factors to control premiums.

  14. My insurance advisor says this is risky. Why should I enroll in Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Wisconsin?

    Unfortunately, all health insurance is risky. Right now, your risk includes high-premium increases, decreased benefits and the loss of coverage. With Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, you are part of a member governed cooperative where your interests are also the primary interests of the cooperative, because you and the other members are the cooperative. You make the decisions.

  15. Can my current insurance agent assist me in enrolling in this plan?

    Yes, if he or she holds a current Wisconsin health insurance license and is approved and appointed by Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative after the Cooperative obtains its insurance license.

  16. When can I apply — is there a certain time of year when I can enroll?

    Open enrollment will begin October 1, 2013 and coverage will become effective January 1, 2014. Enrollment will be continuous throughout the year so prospective members can enroll on January 1, 2014 or after. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative Holds Educational Seminars in May and June.

  17. Can I be rejected for coverage if I have a current medical condition?

    Like all other health insurance companies, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will be required to abide by the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Starting in 2014, the ACA requires insurance companies to provide coverage to everyone, regardless of health status; therefore no one can be denied insurance due to medical conditions.

  18. Am I eligible to enroll if I am over 65 years old?

    Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will not be offering a Medicare Supplement plan to those 65 or over. If you work for a small employer who is a Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative member and you are over 65 years old, you are eligible.