Centura’s new coverage partner opened enrollment Tuesday, and that partner is a startup

The Bright Health app puts insurance tools into members' hands. (Courtesy of Bright Health)
The Bright Health app puts insurance tools into members' hands. (Courtesy of Bright Health)
The Bright Health app puts insurance tools into members’ hands. (Courtesy of Bright Health)

A health insurance startup out of Minnesota just landed a big partnership with Colorado’s near ubiquitous health system Centura Health.

The partnership aims to open a new avenue to healthcare coverage, first in Colorado, then nationwide.

The enrollment period for Bright Health’s six new insurance plans opened Tuesday, Nov. 1. They offer traditional EPO plans — meaning you can get care at hospitals and doctors within the network — with varying deductibles and co-insurance rates.

They also offer Health Savings Account plans, for those who qualify.

But Bright Health isn’t a typical insurance company.

Bright Health only gives subscribers access to Centura Health-affiliated hospitals, clinics and care providers. From the patient side of things, it’s not unlike the Kaiser model.

It may sound limited, but as Centura is such a large healthcare system, Bright Health’s plans give patients access to more than 4,000 network providers in 600 clinics and 15 Centura hospitals, as well as more than 1,300 primary care providers. Members also have access to Children’s Hospital Colorado and more than 110 pediatricians in 24 practices through Colorado Pediatric Collaborative.

So why the single health system model?

The Bright Health model was inspired by the one-on-one dynamic inherent to real-world relationships. 

“We lean on our primary relationships in practically every facet of our lives,” founder Bob Sheehy wrote in an email. “Your relationship with your doctor and care team is no different.”

Sheehy said Bright Health was modeled on the idea that health care and health insurance work better together. They believe that Bright Health’s model can help provide better care without the extra cost by working with members to navigate the enrollment process and determine eligibility for federal subsidies. It is projected that with approach, 75 percent of members will be able to pay $100 or less per month for coverage.

Bright Health felt that Centura embodied their commitment to quality of care and provided significant access to potential members by the nature of its far reach, Sheehy said.

For now, Bright Health has not announced where they plan to expand outside of Colorado.

Open enrollment began Tuesday and ends Jan. 31, 2017. Coverage will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 for those who apply by Dec. 15, 2016.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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