Illinois health co-op gets flack over shrinking network

One of the country’s remaining nonprofit health insurance co-ops is nonetheless struggling, having dropped a major medical center and affiliated doctors from its insurance network

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Land of Lincoln Health announced that it would drop the University of Chicago (UoC) from its insurance network by March 1, drawing criticism from many of the health insurer’s customers.

A number of customers had purchased coverage late last year from Land of Lincoln with the thought that their UoC doctors were still affiliated with the network. Those who choose to remain with their UoC health care providers will have to pay Land of Lincoln higher costs and with their own money.

Land of Lincoln spokeswoman Ashley Heher said that UoC was notified of the decision late last month.

The insurer’s decision to drop UoC was ill-timed; the deadline to buy health care coverage under the ACA effective Jan. 1 was at Dec. 18. Many customers signed up at the last minute, and a good number of them still believed that UoC remained a part of Land of Lincoln’s network.

"We certainly understand any frustration and want to help our members ensure they have adequate coverage for their needs," said company spokesman Dennis O'Sullivan. Land of Lincoln issued a statement, saying that members undergoing treatment may qualify for an extension of in-network coverage and should contact the insurer to learn more alternative options.

Around half of the 23 federally-funded insurance companies created under the ACA—of which Land of Lincoln is on—have closed down. The remaining co-ops continue to struggle even after losing the financial aid of the government.

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!