It is no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year for Idahoans. In addition to the health implications and long-term consequences of COVID-19, living in a global pandemic has changed the way Idahoans work, learn, and interact with friends and family.
Over the past year, COVID-19 has also highlighted the undeniable need for comprehensive health insurance and access to quality healthcare. However, in a year with so much uncertainty and change, it may seem like health insurance is unaffordable or something that we can go without. At Your Health Idaho we understand that budgets are tight, we also know that the peace of mind that comes with having coverage in the event of an emergency is priceless.
As 2020 draws to a close, so does the annual Open Enrollment period for health insurance. Right now, at YourHealthIdaho.org you can shop and compare hundreds of health insurance plans to find the right coverage for you and your family.
New Insurance Carrier Joins Idaho Exchange, Record Number of Plans Available in 2021
Preview plans and prices beginning Oct. 1 at YourHealthIdaho.org
BOISE, Idaho – Your Health Idaho, the state health insurance exchange, announced today that Idahoans will have a record number of medical and dental plans and a new insurance carrier to choose from in 2021.
Regence, which currently sells small group and individual plans off-exchange in Idaho, will offer medical coverage through Your Health Idaho for the first time in 2021. The addition of Regence brings the total number of insurance carriers on the Idaho exchange to seven.
“We are pleased to welcome Regence to Your Health Idaho,” said Pat Kelly, Your Health Idaho Executive Director. “Adding another regional insurance carrier means even more choice for Idahoans and continued local control for the Idaho marketplace.”
Beginning Oct. 1, Idahoans can preview the 136 medical and 13 dental plans that will be available in 2021 online at www.YourHealthIdaho.org.
The Department of Insurance receives preliminary health plan information for the following year from insurance carriers by June 1 and reviews the proposed plan documents and rates for compliance with Idaho and federal regulations. The Department of Insurance does not have the authority to set or establish insurance rates, but it does have the authority to deem rate increases submitted by insurance companies as reasonable or unreasonable. After the review and negotiation process, the carriers submit their final rate increase information. The public is invited to provide comments on the rate changes. Please send any comments to Idaho Department of Insurance.
On April 14th, I noted that Idaho, which had previously refused to join the twelve other state-based ACA exchanges in launching an "open" COVID-19 specific Special Enrollment Period (i.e., open to any uninsured resident regardless of reason) announced that going forward, they were modifying their regular SEP rules somewhat:
...In partnership with the Idaho Department of Insurance and Idaho insurance providers, and in alignment with Governor Little’s initiative to reduce regulations, Your Health Idaho is working to relax the requirements for eligible Idahoans to enroll in coverage.
Back on March 23rd, I noted that while every other state-based ACA exchange has launched an official COVID-19-specific Special Enrollment Period, there are two ACA exchanges which have refused to do so. One of them is the mothership, HealthCare.Gov, which is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) and which hosts a whopping 38 states. The other one is Your Health Idaho:
I contacted the exchange last week to see what the deal was re. a COVID-19 SEP and they kicked the ball over to the state Insurance Dept:
COVID-19 (coronavirus) is not currently considered grounds for a Special Enrollment Period in Idaho. Questions around the potential offering of an SEP would be best answered by the Idaho Department of Insurance. This really falls within their regulatory authority. YHI will follow their guidance and support whatever decision is made.
I did indeed contact the Idaho DOI, but I didn't hear back from them until today. Here's what they had to say:
For a couple of weeks now, I've been posting constant updates as one state-based ACA exchange after another has announced a COVID-19-specific Special Enrollment Period in light of the ongoing pandemic crisis. Until now, though, there's been two ACA exchanges which haven't made such an announcement. One is the Big One, HealthCare.Gov, which hosts a whopping 38 states and which is facing increasing pressure to do so.
The number of Idaho residents who have signed up for Medicaid under the state’s voter-approved expanded coverage has passed 60,000.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare posted updated numbers Thursday. The agency estimates 91,000 residents meet requirements.
Coverage started January 1, but enrollment is year-round. Those who sign up for Medicaid will be covered for doctor visits that occurred earlier in the same month.
Voters authorized Medicaid expansion in 2018 with an initiative that passed with 61% of the vote after years of inaction by state lawmakers. In 2019, lawmakers added restrictions requiring five waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Waivers are required when states want to deviate from Medicaid rules. Federal officials have yet to approve any of Idaho’s requested waivers.
If the anticipated 91,000 people do eventually sign up, it would cost Idaho about $400 million, with the federal government paying 90%.
Your Health Idaho enrolls 89,000 Idahoans for 2020 health insurance coverage
Idaho exchange sees increase in new customers as overall enrollments decline amid Medicaid expansion
BOISE, Idaho – More than 89,000 Idahoans signed up for 2020 health insurance coverage through the state insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho, during open enrollment which ended Dec. 16, 2019.
Enrollments are down approximately 14,000 from the same time last year. This decline is largely due to Medicaid expansion and was expected by the exchange. Your Health Idaho originally estimated that around 18,000 individuals would move from the exchange to Medicaid under the newly expanded program.
Your Health Idaho, the states' ACA exchange, reminds residents who completed their enrollment applications that they still have until midnight tonight to actually select a policy:
Last chance to #GetCovered!
For those Idahoans who submitted an application for 2020 health insurance coverage by December 16, you have one more day to pick a plan! Do not wait! Find your perfect plan today at YourHealthIdaho.org!
Deadline to apply for 2020 health insurance is December 16
Your Health Idaho extends hours to support increased interest
BOISE, Idaho – Idahoans seeking 2020 health insurance coverage must complete their application through the state insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho, by Monday, Dec. 16. In anticipation of increased interest and high demand, Your Health Idaho is extending customer support hours through December.
Your Health Idaho will be open Monday through Friday, December 9-20, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT. Phone lines will also be open Saturday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. MT.
Open Enrollment for Idaho is coming to a close, don’t miss out on enrolling in an affordable health insurance plan! You can set up an account, shop for plans, and apply for coverage online. Visit Apply and Enroll for more information. No computer? No problem. To apply over the phone or to request a paper application, call Your Health Idaho at 1-855-944-3246.
We’re Here to Help!
Your Health Idaho will have extended hours throughout December*:
December 1 – 6: 7am – 7pm
December 9 – 13: 7am – 8pm
December 14 (Saturday): 10am – 4pm
December 16 – 20: 7am – 8pm
December 21 (Saturday): 10am – 4pm
This is the perfect opportunity for those Idahoans who were unable to reach us during the busy work week.
*All times are in Mountain Time Zone.
I heard about this story a couple of weeks ago but didn't get around to writing about it until today. Via Twitter:
Students of the BYUs: might want to start making some noise: the Church Board of Ed just decided that they won’t accept Medicaid as a provider for their student health insurance requirement. The week IDaho expanded Medicaid too. Catch 22? DMBA doesn’t count for ACA requirement.
About 35,000 Idaho residents have signed up for Medicaid under expanded coverage in the first few days it has been offered, state officials said Monday.
The Department of Health and Welfare said that's more than a third of the estimated 91,000 people who are eligible. The agency started taking applications Friday, and it is tracking numbers on its website.
That's the good news. Of course, Republican legislators couldn't leave well enough alone:
Voters authorized Medicaid expansion last year with an initiative that passed with 61% of the vote after years of inaction by state lawmakers. But lawmakers earlier this year added restrictions requiring five waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
...Most recently, Idaho last month submitted a waiver requiring patients to get referrals from primary physicians before they can get family planning services such as birth control, abortions or pregnancy care.
Open Enrollment for health insurance in Idaho begins November 1
New for 2020, Medicaid expansion could affect eligibility
BOISE, Idaho – Open Enrollment for 2020 health insurance coverage begins Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 16. During this time, Idahoans can shop, compare, and enroll in a plan through the state health insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho.
A total of 116 medical and 13 dental plans from six participating insurance carriers are available at Your Health Idaho for 2020. Your Heath Idaho Executive Director, Pat Kelly, urges those seeking coverage to use the comparison tool and consider their options, as plans can vary by county.
“In 2020, every county in the state has at least three insurance carriers to choose from, and most have four. At YourHealthIdaho.org, not only can Idahoans shop and compare plans side-by side, but they can also search for provider networks and prescription drug coverage to make sure the plan they purchase really works for them,” Kelly said.