CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia now has two insurance companies in the health insurance exchange that began three years ago in connection with the Affordable Care Act. CareSource, the Dayton, Ohio-based heath insurance company, recently joined Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in the exchange.

CareSource is operating in 10 West Virginia counties. Currently the company serves more than 1.4 million consumers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

“CareSource wants to grow our mission-based, non-profit model to provide affordable coverage to West Virginians,” CareSource Senior Vice President Scott Streator said. “West Virginians are asking for more health. They want more options; they want more affordable coverage.”

Streator said on their silver and gold plans, generic medications would be “free”, which accounts for 90 percent of all prescriptions. He said their website is easy to understand.

“When a person goes to caresource.com, we actually translate the terms on what this means. What is a premium? What is a deductible?” He said. “We made our plan designs very easy to understand as well. Rather than all the percentage co-payments, we found consumers want a flat co-pay.”

State residents want more help, options and affordable coverage, according to Streator.

“We surveyed across West Virginia households before we entered the market,” he said. “They want affordable coverage. They also want coverage they can understand. Fifty-two percent said it was confusing. West Virginians want an insurance program they can use not just when the are sick. They really want to get healthier.”

State residents wants affordable premiums and health insurance that can be used right away, Streator said.

CareSource plans to create some jobs in the Mountain State.

“We’re hiring West Virginians. We’ve hired two already. We’re going to put an office in Charleston,” said Streator. ‘We’re going to be present and visible in the field to help consumers understand our health insurance benefits.”

CareSource is offered to residents in Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Kanawha, Lincoln, Marshall, Mason, Ohio, Putnam, Wayne counties. The goal is to go statewide in the future, according to Streator.

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