* Idaho will WILL get its own health insurance exchange but it won’t be ready in time
* Idaho will NOT expand Medicaid as stipulated by the Affordable Care Act
Idaho Moves Forward With Its Own Health Insurance Exchange
Idaho is a predominately conservative state and legislators had hoped Obama Care would be struck down by the Supreme Court. However, when that did not happen, they chose to start their own health insurance marketplace rather than rely on a Federal option that would be unknown and full of red tape. Governor Butch Otto who was originally opposed to the idea of a state run marketplace in the end decided Idaho should take matters in their own hands as much as possible.
Because the state was waiting for the Supreme Court ruling, they are behind most other states in actually setting up their exchange and they don’t have anything online yet. This gives them about four months to do what most other states have had several years to do. The Idaho health insurance marketplace must be online and ready to use by October 1st, 2013 so that residents can shop for and buy insurance before the Federally mandated date of January 1, 2014.
Update: Idaho debuted a new website (http://www.yourhealthidaho.org/) but it will just be a portal to the federal exchange. It is expected to take most of 2014 to get the site up and running so that it can act on its own and offer insurance plans to people living in Idaho.
As of September 12, 2013 there are 8 insurers that plan to offer insurance through the new exchange. They are: Altius, BEST Life and Health Insurance Company, Blue Cross of Idaho, BridgeSpan, Delta Dental of Idaho, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, PacificSource, and SelectHealth. Nothing will be finalized until September.
On August 8, 2013 it was announced that the Idaho was given a $20.3 million dollar grant from DHHS to go toward the new exchange.
Expanded Medicaid In Idaho Faces Tough Competition
The Affordable Care Act relies on states expanding their Medicaid programs to help get low income families health care insurance they might not otherwise have. In Idaho, legislators are clearly skeptical that adding to the Medicaid ranks will be economically viable.
As of right now (June 2013) there will be no Medicaid expansion because lawmakers have ended their session without addressing the subject. However, that could change in the months to come. Just as Governor Otto changed his mind on health care insurance exchanges, there is a chance that future legislators may have a change of heart about Medicaid. But for now expanded Medicaid is off the table.