Health Insurance Exchange

Bill Deal
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho Department of Insurance director Bill Deal said he's likely to announce Monday whether his state will adopt President Barack Obama's proposal to extend old health insurance policies that otherwise would be canceled.

Through a spokeswoman on Friday, Deal said he's in discussions with Idaho insurers offering policies to individuals on how such a move would impact the state's health coverage marketplace.

President Obama on Thursday said he'd allow insurance companies to keep selling their old plans to people whose policies were going to be canceled.

The first numbers on enrollment under the new health care law confirm a slow start and mixed results in Northwest states.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Just 338 people have selected health coverage via Idaho's insurance exchange during its glitch-plagued first month.

Your Health Idaho's enrollee figures were released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which also gave statistics for the nation's other exchanges.

In total, 106,185 people in the United States have selected plans.

President Obama's administration has predicted about 7 million people will get coverage via exchanges in 2014, with Idaho accounting for 40,000 of that figure.

Board members of the Idaho health insurance exchange said Tuesday that they will keep secret the findings of a $15,000 taxpayer-funded investigation into how one of its own members won a lucrative no-bid contract.

Your Health Idaho board chairman Stephen Weeg said the two-week-long review by a private lawyer uncovered "lapses in judgment," though nothing illegal. Exchange executive director Amy Dowd last month awarded a technology contract worth up to $375,000 to board member Frank Chan, who quit the same day the contract was announced.

medical stock, scale, healthcare
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Because the federal heath insurance exchange website has been plagued by troubles including outages, the head of Idaho's marketplace says the state is stepping up to make it easier for people to sign up for health insurance.

Amy Dowd leads Your Health Idaho, the state’s health insurance exchange. Until next year, Idaho is using the federal portal to sign up consumers online.

A lawyer hired to review how Idaho insurance exchange leaders awarded a no-bid, $375,000 contract to a board member says he'll be finished within a week.

Fred Mack, a corporate governance specialist at a Boise law firm, said Wednesday the bill for his investigation of the contract between Your Health Idaho director Amy Dowd and former board member Frank Chan won't exceed $15,000.

Last week, Chan canceled his contract to manage a big exchange technology project.

Butch Otter, state of the state
Aaron Kunz / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter wants the requirement for everybody to have insurance by 2014 delayed 12 months amid glitches in Internet health care exchanges across the nation, including Idaho.

Idaho is currently relying on federal software to enroll people in coverage via its Your Health Idaho insurance exchange.

Idaho insurance exchange leaders trimmed the Internet marketplace director's power to sign lucrative deals with vendors after criticizing her move to award a former board member a no-bid contract worth up to $375,000.

Your Health Idaho executive director Amy Dowd now must get the board's permission for any transaction over $15,000.

Beyond this strict new limit, exchange board members voted Tuesday to sever ties with Frank Chan, the former board member who got the contract.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho insurance exchange board member resigned the same day he got a contract worth up to $375,000 annually to oversee a multi-million technology project with the Internet insurance marketplace.

Frank Chan resigned from the Your Health Idaho board Wednesday.

Chan's company will get $180 hourly to oversee the exchange's technology vendors as Your Health Idaho switches from a software system provided by the federal government to a state-based system to take applications for health care coverage.

Idaho insurance exchange leaders may hike fees by as much as 75 percent within two years, according to emails indicating existing fees could be insufficient to sustain the Internet health coverage marketplace's operations.

The Your Health Idaho exchange opened last week, with the web site disrupted by heavy traffic from potential enrollees.

The exchange now charges a 1.5 percent assessment on each policy, to build operational reserves.

medical image
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Seven days after Idaho's online health insurance exchange launched, the organization's director says there are still problems with the website, but it's working slowly.

Your Health Idaho Director Amy Dowd told state lawmakers. Idaho is building its own website, but for now, the state is using the federal portal.

What You Need To Know About Idaho's Health Insurance Exchange

Oct 1, 2013
Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idahoans who don’t have health insurance can now start to shop for and buy insurance through the state’s online marketplace which launches today.

Nearly 19 percent of Idaho’s population under the age of 65 don’t have health insurance. Up to 200,000 Idahoans could be eligible for the subsidized health insurance or Medicaid through the state exchange.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The board overseeing Idaho's health insurance exchange has given its approval to the security system designed to protect consumer financial and personal information.

The 19-member board certified the security system Monday — one day before the exchange will go live.

Meanwhile, insurance agents are wondering if the online marketplace will pose any benefit to their businesses.

Exchange director Amy Dowd contends the exchange is an opportunity for agents and brokers to gain a share of the 200,000 people estimated to shop for policies.

Idaho's $70 million insurance exchange starts Tuesday for as many as 200,000 people in the state to enroll via the Internet for federally subsidized insurance, a key component to President Barack Obama's health overhaul.

Just don't expect to see an immediate marketing blitz: Television, newspaper and other ads due to cost $3.5 million initially won't be ready until mid-October.

Idaho's insurance exchange lost its only for-profit health insurer, cutting nearly 10 percent of the marketplace's coverage offerings even before the Internet marketplace opens its doors Tuesday.

Altius Health Plans was slated to have 15 different policies on the Idaho exchange.

With its exit, only 146 health and dental insurance policies will be offered.

Altius' departure, coming after its parent company was purchased by insurance giant Aetna, cuts into one of the Idaho exchange's goals.