Idaho health insurance exchange
Idaho health insurance exchange
By Carla Anderson
July 24, 2014
Obamacare open enrollment in Idaho has ended for 2014. People who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues throughout the year. Native Americans can sign up through Your Health Idaho anytime during the year. To check if you qualify to buy insurance before the next open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15, call 1-855-YH-Idaho (1-855-944-3246). Individuals who don’t have health insurance that provides “minimum essential coverage” may have to pay a penalty: $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.
More than 76,000 Idahoans signed up for health insurance during the now-closed enrollment period. That’s 36,000 more than the target set by the federal government.
Among Idaho residents selecting a QHP, 92 percent qualified for financial assistance, compared to 85 percent nationally. Only Mississippi and Wyoming had higher rates of individuals eligible for assistance. A report released in June by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed the average monthly premium, after tax credits, for Idaho consumers was $68. Fifty percent of those Idaho enrollees who qualified for subsidies pay $50 or less per month after subsidies.
Fifteen percent of Idaho residents selected a bronze plan (20 percent nationally), 72 percent selected a silver plan (65 percent nationally), 10 percent selected a gold plan (9 percent nationally), 3 percent selected a platinum plan (5 percent nationally) and 1 percent selected a catastrophic plan (2 percent nationally). Twenty-seven percent of Idaho enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34.
Republican Gov. Butch Otter announced in December 2012 that Idaho would implement a state-run health insurance exchange, and HHS gave conditional approval of the state’s plan in early January 2013. 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. For the first open enrollment period, Idaho used the federal site for enrollment.
Idaho is working to transition to its own platform before the next open enrollment period, which begins in Nov. 15, 2014. Your Health Idaho announced in February the selection of two vendors to build its technological platform. GetInsured will handle design, implementation and testing of the platform. Accenture will provide day-to-day project management.
Your Health Idaho touts a low assessment fee as one of biggest consumer benefits to running its own exchange. For both 2014 and 2015 policies, Your Health Idaho is charging an assessment fee of 1.5 percent of premium cost. On the federal marketplace, the fee is 3.5 percent.
A new insurer has been approved by the Idaho Department of Insurance: Mountain Health CO-OP. Mountain Health hopes to sell policies through Your Health Idaho when 2015 open enrollment begins. Four plans sold individual policies on Your Health Idaho for 2014: Blue Cross of Idaho, BridgeSpan, PacificSource, and Select Health.
Idaho is the only state that opted to build its own marketplace, but decided against expanding eligibility for its Medicaid program. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the decision means about 55,000 low-income, non-elderly adults will fall into the coverage gap — meaning they don’t qualify for Medicaid or for subsidies to help them purchase private coverage. While a Medicaid workgroup appointed by Gov. Otter supports Medicaid expansion, there is little to no support in the state legislature.
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