By Carla Anderson
March 3, 2014
Almost 33,000 Idahoans selected a private health plan between Oct. 1 and Feb. 1 according to the Feb. 12 enrollment report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That figure puts Idaho behind only Vermont in per capita enrollment. An additional 8,796 Idaho residents were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Ninety-one percent of those in Idaho who selected a health plan qualified for financial assistance. Nationally, the figure was 82 percent.
Enrollment for private insurance in 2014 continues through March 31. 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. Policies purchased by the 15th of the month will be effective the first day of the following month. Individuals who remain uninsured after March may face a tax penalty of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater. Enrollment for Medicaid or CHIP continues throughout the year.
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 is using the federal site for enrollment.
Idaho is working to transition to its own platform before the next open enrollment period, which begins in November 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.
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.
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