Aetna and UnitedHealth have decades of experience writing health-insurance policies and determining how much they need to collect in premiums to pay for medical claims. That would suggest they have a pretty good sense of how to set rates. And even though co-ops don’t have the same need to please Wall Street with profits, that alone doesn’t account for premiums that are sometimes 50 to 60 percent lower than traditional competitors, says Jonathan Wu, an economist with insurance comparison website ValuePenguin. “I don’t see how just by being nonprofit you could try and cut that much off,” he says.
In Colorado we have CoHealthOp, which is a health insurance cooperative. CoHealthOp and Kaiser had aggressive pricing for the first open enrollment period. Time will tell if they determined their premium correctly. I can tell you that low prices sell! No surprise there, just ask Walmart.