Idaho's state health insurance exchange, YourHealthIdaho.org, is gearing up for the launch of its own Internet sign-up system on Nov. 15, the start of the next open enrollment period for health plans through the exchange, the Idaho State Journal reports. "Launching our own technology platform brings all elements of the exchange into Idaho and puts Idahoans in control of our own fate," exchange board Chairman Stephen Weeg said. "The technology will be ours, our customer service representatives will be in Idaho, and we will continue to work with Idaho agents and brokers." When Idaho's exchange first began operating, it routed customers through the federal health insurance exchange online platform, while starting work to develop its own in-state. Click below for a full report from the State Journal and the Associated Press.
Your Health Idaho to launch sign-up system
POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's state insurance exchange program will launch its own Internet sign-up system in time for the open health insurance enrollment period that starts Nov. 15, officials say.
Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Board Chairman Stephen Weeg said the launch will mean Your Health Idaho won't be hindered by the federal government when it comes to making needed changes or corrections.
"Launching our own technology platform brings all elements of the exchange into Idaho and puts Idahoans in control of our own fate," Weeg told the Idaho State Journal (http://bit.ly/1w1ATeE ).
Having control of the insurance exchange has been a major argument of backers of Idaho's insurance exchange. In 2013, after 15-plus hours of debate, Idaho lawmakers passed the state-based Internet marketplace for insurance that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter championed as better than the federal government's version. Otter opposed the Affordable Care Act but once it became law argued Idaho should take control of its own insurance exchange rather than rely on the federal government.
Otter's support of creating the Idaho exchange was a major argument used against him in the Republican primary in May, when his opponents criticized him as having invited President Obama's liberal health care policies into Idaho. Otter went on to win the primary.
Idaho used the federal government's exchange because it didn't have enough time to build its own system, and more than 76,000 Idaho residents signed up for health insurance during the last open enrollment period.
Now, Weeg said, Idaho will transition away from having residents sign up through the federal platform.
"The technology will be ours, our customer service representatives will be in Idaho, and we will continue to work with Idaho agents and brokers," Weeg said.
Idaho residents will have 198 health and dental plans to choose from, he said.
"We are really proud to offer Idahoans so many different choices when it comes to their health care," Pat Kelly, Your Health Idaho's new executive director, said in a statement. "We've been able to create an online marketplace in Idaho where nine different health and dental insurance carriers are competing for your business. We are confident Idahoans will be able to find a plan that meets their needs and fits their budget."
Officials said nine insurance carriers are offering plans through Your Health Idaho. The open enrollments that starts Nov. 15 runs through Feb. 15.
Weeg said events are planned throughout the state to help people sign up. He also recommended those considering signing up speak with a certified Your Health Idaho agent or broker to determine the best plan at the right cost.
Information from: Idaho State Journal, http://www.journalnet.com
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press