Common Ground is health insurance co-op on ACA exchange

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Affordable Care Act's online insurance marketplaces opened on Tuesday, October 1st, and as some began to shop for health insurance, a Milwaukee-area provider wants folks to know they are offering up something different -- an insurance co-op, owned and used by members.

Tuesday was a day Common Ground Healthcare Co-Op has been gearing up for.

"We`re ready. This is Opening Day. We`ve been waiting for this.  We`ve been preparing for this," Common Ground Healthcare Co-Op CEO Bob De Vita said.

The co-op is a non-profit organization that began as a result of federal loans.

As the marketplace opened for healthcare exchanges, Common Ground used Tuesday to spread the word about the organization.

"Individuals can now go online to our website and enroll and get a plan of benefits. They can shop around and go to competitors of ours," De Vita said.

Volunteers spent Tuesday walking through Milwaukee's Third Ward -- stopping at small businesses to hand out information and flyers.

"We aren`t selling them insurance, we`re just letting them know the options available," volunteer Patrick Flanagan said.

"We`re saying 'give us a chance.'  This is an option. This is an alternative," De Vita said.

While some were receptive and hopeful about the changes the Affordable Healthcare Act will bring, others have concerns.

"We`ve got to make sure this is what the American folks want. I`m not convinced that it is," Tom Gabriel said.

"I`m concerned the middle class people will end up paying for everything and end up worse off," Susan Roberts said.

However, Common Ground's volunteers are optimistic, as they continue to spread a message and look forward to change.

"We created this. We started to build it and now we're ready.  We're going," De Vita said.

Common Ground plans to hand out 10,000 flyers over the next several months.

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