Thursday, November 14, 2013

Idahoans Seeking Coverage by the Thousands for State-Based Insurance Exchange

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM

As the national health insurance exchange,, struggles through its launch, Idahoans have been signing up by the thousands for coverage through the state-based exchange, Your Health Idaho.

According to figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 4,700 completed coverage applications have been filed through Your Health Idaho, representing 10,573 individual Idahoans. Of those, 3,305 have been deemed eligible for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit, while 338 applicants have so far opted to keep their coverage local with Idaho insurance carriers.

Enrollment numbers cover Oct. 1-Nov. 2, and, according to a release from Your Health Idaho, the level of participation shows that "despite the continuous problems with getting through the federal application system ... Idahoans have a high level of interest in shopping for health care coverage through the competitive marketplace."

The Idaho-based site has received more than 75,000 unique visitors since open enrollment began on Oct. 1, despite the decision to hold off on advertising the system until the marketplace application proved functional. On top of that, the Your Health Idaho call center has received more than 4,000 calls and answered more than 300 emails since lines opened.

“One of the benefits of being a state-based marketplace is that we can respond quickly to these challenges and get the information that Idahoans need to get enrolled when they are ready,” Your Health Idaho Executive Director Amy Dowd stated in a news release.

So far, the biggest glitch with Idaho's state-based exchange has come from controversy swirling around a $375,000 contract initially awarded to a technology vendor whose owner had been appointed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to sit on the Your Health Idaho board. Frank Chan, owner of Boise-based Applied Computing, stepped away from the contract in late October after coming under fire from lawmakers. 

According to the Associated Press, a two-week, $150,000 taxpayer-funded investigation into the award of the contract has been completed but will remain secret—except to say that "lapses in judgment" occurred.

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