Number Of Idaho Exchange Enrollees Up, But Falls Short Of Those Who Need Insurance

Dec 11, 2013

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

While the number of Idahoans who've signed up for subsidized health plans through the state's insurance exchange increased in November, enrollment hasn't made much of a dent in the number of uninsured people in Idaho.

“The number of individuals who have selected a marketplace plan and are considered enrolled through the process is 1,730 as of November 30,” says insurance exchange director Amy Dowd.

That's a big jump from the 338 people who signed up for a plan in October, the first month the online marketplace was available to consumers.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 257,900 Idahoans under the age of 65 don’t have health insurance. People without insurance have until March to sign up during the YourHealthIdaho.org's open enrollment period.

It's not clear how many people who've recently signed up for coverage were counted among Idaho's uninsured. Assuming Idaho's 1,730 exchange enrollees were uninsured, less than 1 percent (0.67) of Idahoans without health insurance will soon be covered.

Dowd said signup is slow in part because of challenges people have had with the federal website, but any new individuals that enroll are a plus for Idaho. “We always expected that at the initial couple of months, and quite frankly perhaps our first year, that our beginning numbers would be low, and that as awareness increases, we anticipate enrollment will as well.”

The numbers in Idaho are similar to the national trend. Enrollment statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed nationally 364,000 people have signed up for private coverage under the federal health law.

Dowd expects the numbers to go up in December, since there have been technology fixes to the federal exchange website. “Now that the federal application technology is working much more smoothly, we are confident that even more Idahoans will be getting health insurance through the marketplace in December and beyond,” says Dowd. “As I have said before, this is a marathon, it is not a sprint, and we are only a couple of months into a six-month open enrollment period.”

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio