Here’s Jody with Your Health Idaho to get everyone signed up before the March 31 deadline. Thanks to Jody and to all the folks at Your Health Idaho who have worked so hard to make sure Idaho’s health insurance exchange is just what the doctor ordered for the people of our region!
Note: If you are already on Medicare, already covered under Medicaid, or have insurance through your employer, you do not need to sign up for coverage through the exchange.
We hear from many people who still have a lot of questions or who want to clarify misinformation that is floating around. Here are just a few of the things we’ve heard, along with what’s true:
Concern: There is confusion over whether or not Your Health Idaho is a state-based exchange because it takes users to the federal Healthcare.gov website.
Fact: Idaho has a state-based exchange. Our state faced a choice last year: create our own exchange or let the federal government do it for us. Idaho chose to control our own destiny. Your Health Idaho is governed by a board of Idahoans. The state Department of Insurance oversees and regulates the policies sold by Idaho insurers through the exchange.
Because we had little time to create our technological infrastructure, the Your Health Idaho board opted to borrow the federal technology for this first year to provide us the time needed to successfully build the right technology solution for Idaho. That technology solution is being worked on, and we are on track to have Idaho’s solution in place for the 2015 enrollment period.
Concern: Many people are still wondering if they can sign up for insurance online following earlier website malfunctions with Healthcare.gov.
Fact: While there were valid concerns with Healthcare.gov at the outset, problems people had signing up have been fixed. You should not run into problems signing up now.
Concern: Some people have asked if insurance carriers on Your Health Idaho are required to pay for abortions.
Fact: This is not true. Idaho is one of 15 states that prohibit abortion coverage under any policy listed on their exchanges. Some residents also have wondered whether outside organizations are getting paid to act as navigators to sign up people through the exchanges.
In Idaho, we do not have navigators; we do have highly trained professionals, called in-person-assistors (IPAs), who come from well-known Idaho organizations and associations and who are required to pass a background check before they can join our team. Our assisters help families and individuals find coverage on the exchange – they are not paid to enroll people.
Concern: There have been some concerns that programs linked to the exchange might impinge on gun rights.
Fact: At no point during the process of signing up for insurance through Your Health Idaho will anyone be asked about guns. There is a law on the books that prohibits such a practice.
These are just some of the questions we’re hearing, and there are plenty of resources to help you with answers. Please visit our website at www.YourHealthIdaho.org or call the Your Health Idaho Consumer Resource Center at 1-855-YH-Idaho. We’re happy to answer all of your questions.
Remember that the deadline to sign up for insurance on the exchange is March 31. This date is very important, because if you don’t buy insurance on the exchange by that date, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period, unless you have a life-changing event like getting married, moving, or having a baby.
Idahoans who don’t sign up by March 31 will be required to pay a fee imposed by the federal government for not obtaining health insurance through the exchange as a stipulation of the Affordable Health Care Act. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for coverage through Your Health Idaho.
David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.