First Shots Fired in Insurance Market Disruption

The Affordable Care Act is just two weeks from having its inaugural open enrollment period end on the insurance exchanges. However, the creating of online marketplaces like healthcare.gov was just a piece of the omnibus health-care law. 

One part of the law helped finance, via loans, non-profit insurance co-ops, and in many places they are gaining traction -- none more so than Maine, where, in a David-vs.-Goliath story, Maine Community Health Options is thoroughly trouncing established veteran WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) . Overall the 23 co-ops have signed up a little under a tenth of exchange customers, a solid start for a new initiative.

Are we seeing a new model of how customers interact with their insurance providers? As these co-ops gain traction, it has left many asking: Is this the beginning of the end for traditional insurance providers?

On this Obamacare-focused episode of Market Checkup, Motley Fool health care analysts David Williamson and Michael Douglass talk all things Affordable Care Act, including the future of the insurance model, and what impact co-op success will change the traditional managed care practices.

Do you know how Obamacare will affect your insurance, or your investments?
Obamacare is complex, but it in only minutes, you can learn the critical facts you need to know in a special free report called "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare." This free guide contains the key information and money-making advice that every American must know. Please click here to access your free copy, available for a limited time only.


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  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:06 AM, GymS wrote:

    There is absolutely nothing 'non-profit' about ofailcare. There are still some motley fools that believe it is actually a health care. It's only a giant tax, put on the working White man/Woman, for the communist purpose of re-distribution. It's administered by the IRS and the SCOTUS approved it as 'a tax'. Got it now libbie?

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:32 AM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    I'm an independant voter & I think Obamacare ( Unaffordable Care Act) is the biggest Ponzi scheme ever dumped on the USA.

    Think about it. Even the Democrats (those actually with a job) are going to get burnt big time.

    So that idiot in the white house tells you to work less hours to drop your income so you will get assistance with your health care ins. ? Huh ?

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 11:45 AM, Acttorneyatliar wrote:

    Thanks for the "what," Motley; now please tell us about those Obumbledthere loans to set up co-ops and just how the co-ops work and are apt to kill big insurance. You know, the where, when, why and how aspects of the story.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 5:21 PM, quacker wrote:

    the big thing about failcare is the tax millions of people are going to pay that 95 dollar tax, so 95 million dollars in free tax money at the expense of working men and women.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 6:35 PM, sfil wrote:

    the Co-Ops are a joke, 1/10th of enrollment and many of them are already out of money. They don't know/understand risk adjustment and they are already behind. Laggards lose in this new era of insurance wont survive long enough to compete--

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:08 PM, TerryFlowers wrote:

    HR 676 = Healthcare Equality

    The Affordable Care Ace (ACA) or Obamacare is not the solution to our nation's healthcare challenges. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem to have any real answers. Healthcare costs have been spiraling out of control for over three decades and something has to be done before it gets to the point that very few of us will be able to afford medical care. ACA may have slowed the rise in healthcare costs but it continues to rise faster than the rest of the economy.

    The only real solution for our nation is to remove the profit from the bottom line. All too often it is the patient that suffers as profit becomes the priority.

    HR 676 is a single-payer, true universal healthcare plan. It would leave the medical providers as the owners and operators of their practices in the private sector as not-for-profit entities. It would eliminate the need for the for-profit healthcare insurance industry. The program would be paid for by increasing the Mediare tax to 4.5% (would be less than what most of us pay in insurance premiums now). Businesses would see their taxes rise as well (again would be less than what they pay out in employee healhtcare benefits currently).

    HR 676 wouild provide comprehensive medical care at no cost to the patient and would include medical, dental and vision. No co-pays, no deductibles, no out-of-pocket medical expenses. This would eliminate the bankruptcies and foreclosures that are the result of medical bills.

    HR 676, sometimes referred to as Improved and Expanded Medicare for All, would usher in true healthcare freedom, equality and justice. Research it for yourself. There are a number of excellent web sites that have a wealth of information. www.pnhp.org and www.healthcare-now.org and www.mforall.org are some of my favorites.

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2014, at 1:02 AM, Jimi wrote:

    HR676 your a fool and have no clue. The AMA admitted they were purposely overcharging medicare 11% since 2001. Medicare will not go up to 4.5% as the AMA negotiated the rates. The ACA is NOT funded by medicare and I suggest you do some research

  • Report this Comment On March 18, 2014, at 9:05 AM, kitdes wrote:

    Jimi, you should read the bill, the ACA was "gifted" with money taken from Medicare, I can't remember the dollar amount. One of the Medicare benefits that was cut, "home health care nurses".

  • Report this Comment On March 18, 2014, at 5:19 PM, lcr1946 wrote:

    Wonderful, you write a nice article discussing the impact of a little known feature of the ACA and there is one comment discussing what is a better alternative and folks can't even comment intelligently on either.

    Are the folks who piss and moan about the ACA so much are cognizant enough to grasp that changes to the health care conglomeration of cottage industries we currently have are some of the main cost drivers of medical care. Everybody has their own little business and most are now staffed with one person working with the doctor and four handling the paperwork to meet the insurance company requirements.

    Are you too dumb to understand you wait til hell freezes over to actually see the doctor because the insurance companies expect him to schedule a minimum number of appointments every day. Waits from 30 minute to 1 and 1/2 hours beyond the appointment time are fairly standard at most doctor offices daily. More people are scheduled than can actually be seen in the time allotted, so the later in the day, the longer the wait.

    The people who complain about the ACA don't pay much attention. If they did they would see the the folks working in healthcare know there need to be changes and while many are like the rest of us, they want more change, much more change.

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