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National Non-Profit Health Insurance Option Under Construction

by Matt Metzner, published
Credit: American Progress

affordable health care option

The United States is set to offer a national, non-profit health insurance plan. This new provision is a portion of the health care overhaul under the Affordable Care Act. The new provision is one of the more contentious portions of the national health care package.

Once this new provision is set in place the non-profit option, and thus the Obama administration, will be the sponsor of at least two nationwide health insurance plans. This new system will offer a health insurance plan to consumers in every state.

Unlike the original policy contemplated under the Affordable Care Act, this plan will act as a competitor for existing health care providers. The non-profit health insurance option replaced a pure governmental health care option that became the focus of a heated debate between the right and left.

Like other health insurance providers, benefits and premiums will be negotiated, and the US Office of Personnel Management has been charged with this task. The independent administrative agency serves many employment related functions and is also the primary conduit for security clearances for federal and civilian workers.

The plans that are structured by the Office of Personnel Management will be available to consumers through state health insurance exchanges. These exchanges act as marketplaces where consumers can find the most cost-effective healthcare options for their household.

Once put in place, a non-profit governmental agency, most likely the Government Employees Health Association (GEHA), will manage the health plans. GEHA currently manages the health coverage of over 900,000 federal employees and their households and is best suited for overseeing the non-profit option.

Commenting on GEHA’s role in the process, the association’s president, Richard G. Miles, stated “our expertise in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program would be useful in the private marketplace, but we are concerned about the underwriting risk in providing insurance to an unknown group of customers.”

The Obama administration is expecting 750,000 people to select the federal non-profit option within the first year of operation.

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