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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

When a rate increase isn’t quite what it seems…

When word came out recently that health insurance premiums for plans on Idaho’s insurance exchange would go up between 7 and 26 percent on average next year, that sounded like quite a jump. But Idaho Statesman reporter Audrey Dutton analyzed the changes, and found that the impact varies considerably, not only between carriers abut also depending on where in Idaho the customer lives and whether or not they qualify for rate subsidies. She also reported that one company, PacificSource, lowered its rates for next year by an average of 8 percent. “Average is no indication of what any Idahoan will pay next year,” Dutton wrote in Sunday’s newspaper.

Her analysis found that Southwest Idaho has the lowest priced health insurance for 2016, with the North Idaho Panhandle second-lowest. Also, though PacificSource is lowering its premiums for next year, it had raised them an average of 37 percent this year and remains among the higher-priced options. Blue Cross, which had an average 23 percent increase in premiums for its plans for next year, had proposed bigger increases but lowered them after negotiations with the state Department of Insurance.

Dutton also reported that benefits vary between plans, and that, aside from price, also can be a factor in which plan best meets a customer’s needs. Her full report is online here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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