Health Insurance Exchange

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers have been in session for nearly three months and there's still a lot to get done before legislators can go home. The Governor’s health insurance exchange survived a vote in the Senate. Now the House will consider the state-based exchange this week. There are also several education and gun bills that are working their way through the legislative process.  

Idaho Public Television Screen Shot

The debate among Idaho lawmakers started in earnest Tuesday over whether the state should create its own health insurance exchange

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Idahoans will have a chance to weigh in on whether the state should create its own health insurance exchange today at the Capitol.  

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A bill intended to give Idaho insurance brokers an opportunity to help clients shop for health insurance is headed for debate in House committee.

The measure introduced in the House State Affairs Committee Thursday would give brokers access to customers looking for coverage through the health insurance exchange. The exchanges — a byproduct of the federal health care overhaul — will be set up like an online marketplace for insurance products for individuals and small businesses.

Mike Crapo

Idaho's governor announced yesterday the state should build its own health insurance exchange rather than go with a federally- run model. Exchanges are online marketplaces that allow consumers to assess health insurance plans.  Under the Affordable Care Act, every state must have one by 2014.

Butch Otter
State of Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is opting for a state-based health insurance exchange.

The Republican governor’s office distributed that news late this afternoon in a release that criticizes Obamacare, but says the state must assert its “commitment to self-determination” and fulfill its “responsibility to the rule of law.”

The decision is subject to the Idaho Legislature’s approval.

How Obamacare Creates An Insurance Industry Ad Blitz

Nov 30, 2012
Blue Cross of Idaho Ad
Sawyer Miller for Blue Cross of Idaho

One of Blue Cross of Idaho’s new television commercials opens with a chirpy jingle.  “You’re protected in the sun, you’re protected when it rains,” the song begins.  The pitch is clear: this is the insurer for you, no matter your lifestyle.

Idaho Gov. Otter Delays Health Insurance Exchange Decision

Nov 16, 2012

Governor C.L. “Butch” said in a news release this morning he’ll wait to consult with Idaho Legislative leaders before deciding if the state will create its own health insurance exchange.

Late yesterday afternoon, the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it would give states until Dec. 14 to decide if they’ll create a state-based exchange, a federal exchange, or a partnership model.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s largest hospital is teaming up with a Utah company to provide in-house insurance. St. Luke’s Health System and SelectHealth are forming what the companies call a strategic partnership. The hope is that by having the provider and insurer work together they can reduce costs and improve health outcomes.

Jessica Murri / Boise State Public Radio

It’s the height of fire season in Idaho and hundreds of seasonal firefighters are busy.

For the first time, they’re eligible for federal health insurance. President Obama made the change in July.

Many of these firefighters have gone without insurance because of the cost. While the new benefits have been welcomed, one Boise-based firefighter finds that the new health insurance won’t help her.

Emma Kaage lifts a 95 pound barbell above her head, and lets it drop to the floor, before she picks it up again. The 25-year-old does CrossFit training twice a day.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Earlier this week, we told you about the work of Idaho's legislative healthcare task force - 14 lawmakers who met Monday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.  Today a task force created by the governor will hold the first in a series of meetings that will help decide the future of health care in Idaho. 

Religious beliefs and contraception collided Friday in the Idaho House of Representatives, where a majority of lawmakers voted to send a message to the President and U.S. Congress to reject a new birth control policy. 

The Obama Administration has been walking a tightrope on contraception these past few weeks.  It started with a requirement that religious non-profits offer workers birth control free of charge.  After a backlash, the Administration offered to exempt these groups and place the cost on their insurers. 

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