Blue Cross Of Idaho First Insurer To Propose Plans Out Of Compliance With ACA

Feb 14, 2018

Blue Cross of Idaho is the first insurer in the state to submit plans to regulators that follow Governor Butch Otter's executive order calling for a state-based solution to health care. The plans are out of compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Credit Amy / Flickr

Insurer Blue Cross of Idaho submitted plans this week to state regulators that open the door for policies that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act – something pushed by Governor Butch Otter.

The five proposed plans from Blue Cross, christened “Freedom Blue Plans,” could be available to consumers as soon as this spring. The insurance company is the first to offer proposals to regulators following the executive order.

The proposed coverage options from Blue Cross are similar to what’s already available on the state’s insurance marketplace, Your Health Idaho. However, one of the plans doesn’t include maternity benefits.

With the so-called “state-based” plans, Blue Cross would be able to ask customers to fill out a survey detailing their medical history. The insurer could charge sicker, high-risk patients more for coverage – a pricing scheme not allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

Peter Sorensen, the vice president of individual and government markets for Blue Cross, is confident in the insurer’s legal footing.

“We are following the lead of the state and following our regulator, who is the state’s guidelines, to offer these new products,” he says.

Meanwhile, the head of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, says he’ll uphold the ACA as long as it’s law.

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