WALNUT CREEK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aetna (NYSE: AET) is now offering individual health insurance plans to Costco members in California. The Costco Personal Health Insurance program, of which there are five plans to choose from, offers broad major medical benefits; dental options; an extensive network of doctors and hospitals; and a variety of helpful services, tools and information, tailored to meet the needs of Costco members.
In addition to California, the Costco Personal Health Insurance program is also available to Costco members in Arizona; Connecticut; Georgia; Illinois; Michigan; Nevada; Pennsylvania; Texas; and Virginia. Aetna plans to expand the program to other markets in the coming months.
This is a shrewd strategy. According to some media accounts, Costco members in 2012 had average household incomes of $96,000 — slightly above the $92,200 that equated to 400 percent of the federal poverty level of a family of four that year. That’s a critical threshold because it’s the eligibility cutoff for advance income tax credits the Affordable Care Act authorizes to subsidize premiums for coverage purchased on state health benefit exchange marketplaces. Aetna clearly sees Costco as a key distribution channel for its plans that will not be sold on the state exchange marketplaces.
Update: California Costco members won’t have this option. In mid-June 2013, Aetna announced it would pull out of the individual market in California in 2014.
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