Your Health Idaho

Health insurance premiums in Idaho will go up in 2018, between 6 and 81 percent depending on the plan you choose.  That's according to proposed increases to the price of your health care plan.

Each year, insurance companies operating in Idaho send their planned price hikes to the Department of Insurance. The proposed increases were released Monday for 2018.

The proposed average overall statewide rate increase is 38 percent. The average price for Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans are all going up, with Silver plans averaging a 50 percent increase.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Tuesday, the U.S. Senate narrowly approved a motion to proceed with GOP health care legislation. Idaho’s two senators voted in favor of the motion. Sen. Mike Crapo and Sen. Jim Risch both voted in favor of the motion, which required a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence to proceed.

The vote fell along party lines, but two Republican senators dissented.

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

A plan from Congressional Republicans to replace Obamacare could result in a mass exodus from Idaho’s online health insurance exchange.

State officials say almost 60,000 people could leave the exchange under the new proposal. Your Health Idaho director Pat Kelly said Friday that’s because it removes tax credit subsidies and the requirement for individuals to have health insurance.

Federal officials say approximately 15,000 Idahoans may be eligible for tax credits if they purchase insurance through the state's health care exchange rather than skip the marketplace again while picking 2017 coverage.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that only residents who bought their 2017 plans on the Your Health Idaho website are qualified for a tax subsidy.

Health officials say the tax credits were designed to make coverage more affordable and protect consumers from the impact of rate increases.

insurance exchange, computer, your health idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Though there will be more options for health insurance available on Your Idaho Health's marketplace this year, premiums will be higher than in 2016.

The Idaho Statesman reports that premiums will be about 24 percent higher on average in 2017 than they were in 2016. The price each person pays depends on factors such as age, geographic location and desired levels of insurance coverage, among other factors.

insurance exchange, computer, your health idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Officials with Your Health Idaho say they are actively working to ensure that customers don't see another delay in receiving a critical tax form needed to prove health coverage and avoid a tax penalty.

The state's health insurance exchange failed this year to distribute the forms by the required Jan. 31 deadline. The exchange also issued thousands of corrections because of inaccurate information on the forms.

While all customers eventually received their correct forms before April 15, officials have raised concerns about the same challenges occurring next year.

Your Health Idaho

Idahoans who buy their health insurance through the state-based health exchange will have more options but face higher costs while shopping for coverage for 2016.

The third year of sign-ups for coverage through yourhealthidaho.org begins Sunday. That means people have until Dec. 15 to sign up for insurance — or switch policies — to ensure coverage will begin on New Year's Day.

Pat Kelly, executive director of Your Health Idaho, says the exchange will offer more than 200 plans.

Omar Bárcena / Flickr

Idaho's online insurance exchange needs to collect $9 million in revenue by the summer of 2017 or risk dipping into its limited reserves in order to stay in business.

The federal government stopped providing funding for state-based exchanges on Jan. 1. This means the 13 states currently operating their own exchange must find a way to become sustainable.

Tyler / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials with Idaho's health insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho, say 83,383 people enrolled for insurance between November 15-December 31. That number includes people who were already enrolled and renewed their coverage, as well as new insurance customers.

Your Health Idaho Executive Director Pat Kelly says the number of people signing on has had its ups and downs in the last two months, but he's pleased overall.

insurance exchange, computer, your health idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho officials say the state-based health insurance marketplace had nearly 13,000 visitors just days after it opened for business.

Your Health Idaho Executive Director Pat Kelly isn't immediately releasing how many Idahoans signed up for coverage on the state exchange's website. However, he told reporters Monday yourhealthidaho.org hasn't experienced any of the technical glitches that plagued the federal marketplace last year since it launched Saturday.

Last year, 76,000 Idaho residents enrolled within six months.

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

Idaho is on track to become the only Republican-dominated state to launch its own health insurance exchange when enrollment opens Nov. 15.

But the state exchange is facing pressure to function just as well as the federal exchange when it first opened for enrollment last year.

While the federal exchange's website experienced serious glitches when it first launched, it quickly outperformed other state exchanges in the following weeks. States like Oregon chose to rely on the federal government's site because it was too costly and time-consuming to fix their own.

Amy Dowd
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

New Mexico's health insurance exchange is hiring an Idaho official to run the online marketplace as it prepares for the next round of enrollment.

The exchange's board of director voted Friday to select Amy Dowd as its chief executive officer. Dowd has been executive director of Idaho's insurance exchange since last year.

The board is finalizing a contract with Dowd and it's uncertain when she will start her new job.

Interim CEO Mike Nunez has been running New Mexico's exchange since it was created last year.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says nearly 44,000 Idahoans have selected a health insurance plan on Your Health Idaho.

The agency says Idaho remains second in the nation per capita for the number of people selecting plans on the exchange.

The latest numbers show a 33 percent increase from one month ago.

The enrollment period ends on March 31.

Idaho's insurance exchange voted to give two companies publicly funded contracts worth $40.8 million to build and operate a state enrollment system due to replace the federal software in place now.

Your Health Idaho's board Friday voted to give the work to GetInsured and Accenture, the two companies that also built California's state insurance exchange.

Idaho has used the federal government's exchange for the past five months because it didn't have enough time to build its own system before the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Sign-ups in Idaho's insurance exchange accelerated in January, rising to 32,899 as more people sought health care coverage as the March 31 enrollment deadline approaches.

The federal government reported Wednesday Your Health Idaho enrollment amounted to the second-highest per capita in the country, with only Vermont's numbers topping those of the Gem State.

Exchange spokeswoman Jody Olson said the figures are positive, but urged residents currently without insurance to seek coverage required under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care overhaul.

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