Idaho Picks Up $20 Million For Health Insurance Exchange

Aug 7, 2013

Idaho’s health insurance exchange picked up more than $20 million today.  The grant came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The exchange’s executive director, Amy Dowd, said the money will help Idaho build its own online health insurance marketplace.

“We have a short amount of time to create a credible resource for Idahoans to compare health insurance products during open enrollment,” said Dowd. “We have made tremendous progress in meeting all of the required deadlines and this funding helps to ensure Idaho’s own health insurance marketplace is operational on time.”

Idaho’s exchange was created by the Idaho Legislature this year.  It’s tasked to provide an online marketplace where Idaho families and small businesses can go to compare and purchase health insurance. The exchange is governed by a 19-member board.

The exchange must be up and running by January 1, 2014, as required by federal law.

Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said consumers can now go online and create personal accounts by establishing a username and password.

Serious shopping will have to wait until sometime in September, when details on insurance plans and premiums offered in local areas become available.  Open enrollment starts October 1.

Last week, the U.S. House voted, for the 40th time, to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The bill would  prevent the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing or implementing any part of the law House Republicans call "Obamacare."  Such measures have died in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Next year, the IRS will begin enforcing the requirement that most individuals have health insurance, collecting fines from people who don't. The IRS also will distribute subsidies to help people buy insurance in new exchanges.