Idaho health insurance exchange
Applications for more than 10,500 Idahoans completed in October
By Carla Anderson
November 14, 2013
Just 338 Idahoans selected a health plan through the federal marketplace between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2 according to enrollment data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). However, officials say the 4,753 completed applications representing about 10,500 people show that there is strong interest in obtaining coverage. They are hopeful that the number of consumers who complete the final steps of selecting a plan and making payment will increase rapidly as problems with HealthCare.gov are addressed. While Idaho is operating its own exchange, it is relying on HealthCare.gov for the initial enrollment period.
Republican Gov. Butch Otter announced in December 2012 that Idaho would implement a state-run health insurance exchange. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave conditional approval of the state’s plan in early January.
The state-run option was resisted by both the governor and many Republican legislators. Like those in other “red” states, Idaho leaders hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would find the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional. However, after the Court upheld most elements of the ACA and a state task force in October 2012 strongly recommended a state-run exchange, Otter began leaning toward that option as preferable to a federally run exchange.
After Otter’s announcement in December, legislators began considering legislation, and both chambers passed bills authorizing a state-run in exchange in the first quarter of 2013. However, that left scant time to set up the exchange, and a spokesperson for the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange was quoted Aug. 11 saying the state would be forced to rely on the federal exchange in 2014. That story was widely reported across the country. However, on Aug. 20, the Idaho exchange launched its consumer website and new brand name: Your Health Idaho. The site included a page that emphasizes that Idaho will run its own exchange, while temporarily relying on existing (federal) technology.
Four insurance companies are offering 61 individual and family health insurance policy options through Your Health Idaho: Blue Cross of Idaho, BridgeSpan Health Company, PacificSource Health Plans, and SelectHealth. Blue Cross, PacificSource and SelectHealth are also participating in the small-group, or SHOP, marketplace.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the average cost for a bronze plan —the lowest-cost option — in Idaho is $227 a month. The national average for a bronze policy is $249 a month.
According to HHS, about 222,500 Idaho residents (17 percent) are uninsured and eligible to use marketplace. Open enrollment for coverage in 2014 runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Policies must be purchased by Dec. 23 for coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2014. Visit the Consumer Assistance Locator page on the Your Health Idaho website to get connected to people who can provide in-person assistance with the enrollment process.
Idaho health insurance exchange links
Your Health Idaho
Idaho Health Insurance Exchange
This site provides information about exchange planning and start-up; a consumer-facing site is under development.
State Exchange Profile: Idaho
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Idaho’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Idaho Department of Insurance
Answers questions about insurance bought on the individual market and insurance provided by an employer who only does business in Idaho.
(208) 334-4250 / toll-free (800) 721-3272