Consumers’ Choice makes good first impression in insurance market

jholleman@thestate.comNovember 19, 2013 

Consumers’ Choice Health Plan sold about 370 policies in the first month of the Health Insurance Marketplace, about 65 percent of the total in South Carolina.

Consumers’ Choice is a nonprofit created as part of the Affordable Care Act to ensure more options in the insurance market in the state. It didn’t provide the exact number of policies sold, but 65 percent of the 572 policies sold to South Carolinians Oct. 1 through Nov. 1 would be about 370.

The other insurance companies offering policies on the Health Insurance Marketplace in the state – BlueCross BlueShield of SC, BlueChoice and Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas – haven’t released sales numbers.

The first-month numbers were much lower than expected for all companies because of problems with the healthcare.gov website. The 572 total is expected to be a drop in the bucket of the total sales before the Health Insurance Marketplace shuts down for this cycle at the end of March. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates about 336,000 people in the state are eligible for tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, making them the most likely to buy on the new marketplace.

Consumers’ Choice used the first-month numbers to brag a little.

“We are the new choice, and we are getting 65 percent of the shoppers,” said Jerry Burgess, president and CEO. “In just one year, we’ve built a health plan from the ground up.”

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