Your Guide to Idaho Health Insurance
Before we jump right into Idaho health insurance and everything you need to know, let’s start with a little background information. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a “Obamacare” or ACA) was passed with the goal of getting all Americans access to affordable health insurance. To meet this goal, one measure Obamacare took was to create the ACA health insurance marketplaces, or health exchanges: one-stop shops where Americans can choose from a range of standardized, government-regulated health care plans. Health exchanges are also where eligible people can get subsidies, which lower the cost of their health plans.
States were given the option to run their own local exchange, take part in a multi-state exchange, or use the federal exchange. States that run their own exchanges get to customize many elements, including the time frame during which their residents can sign up for a plan. Several states decided to operate their own state exchanges and continue to do so to this day. Idaho is one of those states.
Idaho’s Health Insurance Landscape: Then and Now
The Idaho health insurance exchange is called Your Health Idaho. Before the ACA, 16.2 percent of Idahoans were uninsured. Since the introduction of Your Health Idaho, the percent of Idahoans without health insurance has dropped to 10.1! 101 thousand people have enrolled for health insurance through Your Health Idaho.
The Idaho Health Insurance Exchange
Your Health Idaho is where eligible people throughout the state can find subsidized ACA plans. Open Enrollment for 2019 in Idaho runs from November 1 to December 15, with coverage starting January 1.
Your Health Idaho offers extended bronze plans, which are bronze plans with an actuarial value of 65 percent rather than the typical 60 percent. Because only silver plans have the cost of CSR added to their rates, extended bronze plans are a great option for consumers who aren’t subsidy eligible and want to avoid paying the increased rates associated with the cost of CSR, while also having more robust benefits than the typical bronze plan.
Like all other state exchanges, each plan on Your Health Idaho covers 10 essential health benefits. These include things like prescription coverage, maternity and mental health care, and laboratory services.
Buying insurance with Your Health Idaho involves four steps:
1. Create an account on Your Health Idaho
2. Complete the online application form
3. Compare your options
4. Select your plan and enroll
In true health insurance fashion, each of these steps can be trickier than you expect. Many people need help navigating the website, estimating their income, figuring out if they are eligible for subsidies, and understanding what documents are needed for proof of income, citizenship, or identity. Luckily, you can find a Certified Enrollment Counselor near you to help with your application!
Your Health Idaho’s Intricacies: What You Need to Know for 2019
All insurers that offered plans on Your Health Idaho for 2018 will continue to do so for 2019. This means all four carriers are returning to the exchange. These four carriers include:
Mountain Health CO-OP
Blue Cross of Idaho
As of 2016, Blue Cross of Idaho had the largest share of the Idaho health insurance market. Idahoans are lucky because Your Health Idaho is considered a more robust exchange when it comes to carrier participation. This means you have a pretty good selection when choosing a plan.
According to the Idaho Department of Insurance, insurance plan prices are increasing. The amount by which it increases depends on where in Idaho you live. On average across the state, your monthly premium will increase by 5 percent if you choose to keep your current health plan. While this may seem scary, most health insurance shoppers can generally avoid rate increases entirely by switching to the cheapest plan within their metal tier. Not to mention, you will likely qualify for a health insurance subsidy, which can help make your plan more affordable; of the 101 thousand people enrolled through Your Idaho Health, almost 82 percent receive federal subsidies.
If you live in Idaho, the start of Open Enrollment (the time of year when you can enroll in a new health plan) is here. Be sure to find your most affordable plan, and you’ll be well on your way for smarter, better savings all year long. And don’t forget – if you need help finding a subsidy or picking a plan, our experts are here to help!