DeVita discusses insurance exchanges, Common Ground’s progress at Milwaukee Press Club

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative CEO Bob DeVita was the focus of the Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon today at the Newsroom Pub.

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is one of four insurers selling coverage on the new Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and was established through a $56.4 million federal loan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

DeVita said roughly 2,200 have signed up for coverage through Common Ground, 75 percent of which have come from those signing up on the marketplace. A week ago, he said, enrollment numbers were just over 1,000.

Despite the problems with the federal website, Healthcare.gov, DeVita said Common Ground’s goal of signing up 10,000 members in its first year has “not changed,” and that surpassing that goal is a possibility.

DeVita emphasized focusing on the long term, saying it’s “too early in the game” to be coming to long term conclusions on health care reform.

“The American public is not used to looking at things over time,” he said.

He added people involved in the health reform process need to be seeking solutions.

“Let’s stop as a nation rooting for failure,” he said. “This is crazy. The aim ought to be, “Let’s perfect this.””

On the state-level implementation of the Affordable Care Act, DeVita said Gov. Walker’s plan to kick 77,000 people off BadgerCare creates a “potential market” for Common Ground, and that they are working with navigators and providers in efforts to sign people up for its coverage.

He also said the differences between Wisconsin and Minnesota in the health reform rollout is a “big story,” considering the differences in the rollout of health reform in each respective state.

“It would be nice to have (a state-based exchanged) we in Wisconsin designed — if it worked well,” he said.

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is selling insurance in 19 counties in Wisconsin, and is working with two provider networks – Aurora Health Care and Trilogy Health Networks.

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