UPDATE: Nonprofit health care group launches in east Wis.

UPDATED Wednesday, December 11, 2013 --- 3:04 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Eastern Wisconsin residents will soon be able to buy health insurance through a nonprofit cooperative designed to offer lower-cost insurance options.

Bob De Vita is the CEO of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative. He said Wednesday more than 2,200 people have signed up for coverage through the startup health insurance carrier.

He describes Common Ground as the equivalent of a credit union for health care, where profits are re-invested into the company to keep costs down. The company will serve customers in 19 eastern Wisconsin counties from the Illinois border up to Marinette County.

De Vita says 75 percent to 80 percent of its enrollees signed up through the federal online exchanges.

A similar group, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, has operated in Dane County since 1976.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Posted Monday, September 23, 2013 --- 9:24 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Business leaders and community organizers in Milwaukee are forming a nonprofit health insurance company to provide coverage to small businesses and individuals.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is one of 24 being started nationwide with almost $2 billion in federal loans.

It will focus on Milwaukee and eastern Wisconsin to start, selling coverage through the federally run online marketplace, or exchange, that opens Oct. 1.

Kettle Moraine Hardwoods owner Jim Wesp is on the cooperative's board. He says he was attracted by the idea of a cooperative because membership gives him some say in how the company is run.

It's not the first nonprofit health insurance company in Wisconsin. Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin was started in the 1970s with a federal loan.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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