November 14, 2013 in Idaho, Nation/World

Your Health Idaho insurance exchange has 338 enrollees in first month

John Miller Associated Press
 

BOISE – Just 338 people 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 released statistics for the nation’s other state exchanges.

Idaho’s online exchange is part of President Barack Obama’s program to provide federally subsidized health insurance to more Americans. It is using the federal HealthCare.gov site to enroll participants, until at least next October. That’s because the 2013 Legislature only created the insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses in March, which was too late to complete its own enrollment system this year.

Consequently, many people in Idaho seeking coverage have encountered the same problems as prospective enrollees in 35 other states who are using the federal system that has in some instances completely broken down.

“I think that what it shows is the difficulty that’s happened with HealthCare.gov,” said state House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, a member of the exchange’s 18-member governance board. “We recognize that the federal site is not working is as it should, so we’re trying to mitigate as best we can.”

Among other things, Your Health Idaho has tried to address the bottleneck at the federal site by creating a calculator to help people determine what they might receive as a federal subsidy for buying insurance policies, based on their income.

It also plans to use a $50 million federal grant to build its own enrollment system by next October.

In total, 4,753 applications in Idaho have been completed for a total of 10,573 people, according to HHS figures gathered for the Oct. 1-Nov. 2 period.

Of those, 3,305 have been determined to be eligible for tax credits to offset the cost of their policies. Another 1,243 are pending.

Additionally, 1,597 people have been determined eligible for Medicaid, the federal-state health coverage program for the poor and disabled.

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