Idaho: @YourHealthIdaho reports ~69K QHPs during 2021 Open Enrollment

via Your Health Idaho:

More than 79,000 Idahoans Enroll in 2021 Health Insurance Coverage

BOISE, Idaho – More than 79,000 Idahoans signed up for 2021 health insurance coverage through the state health insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho, during the annual open enrollment period.

Compared to the same time last year, enrollments on the exchange are down by approximately 10,000. This decline is attributed in large part to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting public health emergencies and protected coverage policies.  

Last year's official Idaho Open Enrollment Period (OEP) Qualified Health Plan (QHP) total was 78,431, so 79,000 should be slightly higher, not 10,000 lower. What's going on here?

Well, YHI did something similar last year--they reported 89,000 enrollments during the 2020 OEP but it turned out that 10,612 of those were stand-alone dental policies, which aren't the same and which aren't counted as QHPs by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS). They've confirmed that a similar portion of this year's "79,000" are actually standalone dental plans as well, thus the 10K drop, so it's actually roughly 69,000 major medical policies.

That means Idaho experienced a 12% drop year over year...the highest by far of any state so far. The explanation about protected coverage policies is one also given by Massachusetts. There's a number of people who were enrolled in Medicaid last year who normally would have been kicked off if their incomes rose above the 138% FPL threshold (and thus would have had to move to a heavily-subsidized ACA exchange plan) who didn't because last spring's "Families First" COVID response act prohibited Medicaid from kicking off anyone who was already enrolled (or who enrolled newly).

This presumably means there's some number of people currently enrolled in Medicaid even though their incomes are officially over the 138% cut-off point.

However...12% is still a hell of a drop compared to most of the other Medicaid expansion states. I suspect there's something else going on in Idaho as well, but I'll have to look into it.

“Given the challenges of COVID-19 and the hard choices faced by Idahoans this past year, we were not entirely surprised to see a decline in enrollments,” said Your Health Idaho Executive Director, Pat Kelly. “Although our enrollment numbers are down compared to last year, we are encouraged by the percentage of Idahoans who have already effectuated, or paid for, their 2021 coverage.”

Kelly said that at the end of open enrollment, more than 86% of all enrollments have already effectuated coverage for 2021, compared to 73% at the same time last year.

“This tells us that those who enrolled understand the importance and peace of mind that comes with getting covered,” said Kelly. “We also anticipate that these enrollees will be more likely to maintain their health insurance through the coming year.” 

Of the 79,000 Idahoans enrolled for 2021, approximately 85% percent renewed their coverage from 2020, while new customers made up 15% of total enrollments. In addition, 24% of enrollees have had a plan through Your Health Idaho since 2014, when Idaho became the first state to transition off the federal platform and successfully launch a state-based marketplace. 

Now that the open enrollment period is over, Idahoans must experience a Qualifying Life Event, like having a baby or losing employer coverage, to be eligible for coverage with a Special Enrollment Period. More information is available on the Your Health Idaho website.

For More Information  

  • Visit YourHealthIdaho.org to shop for plans and enroll
  • Contact Your Health Idaho by phone at 1-855-944-3246 or submit a Support Request online  
  • Visit YourHealthIdaho.org/find-help to get free, expert advice from a Your Health Idaho-certified insurance agent or broker