Saturday, November 15, 2014

Your Health Idaho Launches 2015 Enrollment

Posted By on Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Saturday marks Idaho's second go-around with the online health insurance exchange marketplace, but it's also a new beginning. The Nov. 15 opening of the 2015 window to secure health care coverage isn't really a re-launch; it's the beginning of Idaho's own online exchange as Your Health Idaho officials say goodbye to the federal website, which experienced so many stops-and-starts during the initial sign-up.

Idaho officials say there are 200 different combinations of health care and dental care plans, provided by nine insurance carriers available on the exchange. While Your Health Idaho officials say they're not exactly sure how many Gem State residents will secure a policy this year, they point to the nearly 80,000 residents who enrolled during last year's event.

The Idaho-based exchange launched early this morning, announcing "2015 Open Enrollment Has Started."

Your Health Idaho officials say consumers should feel free to browse through this year's choices anonymously. Simply put, you can shop without buying. When you're ready to secure coverage, that's when you'll be prompted for particulars.

The big question for many Idahoans remains: "What happens if I don't get insurance?"

For those Idahoans who haven't secured coverage through an employer or private plan—through the insurance exchange or any other means—the penalty has moved up to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, maxing out at $975 per family, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is higher.

To get a tax credit to help reduce monthly premium costs, Idahoans must file taxes, have incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, not be eligible for federal health care programs like Medicaid or Medicare, and not have access to affordable health insurance through their employers. The income levels for 100 to 400 percent of federal poverty level are between $11,670 to $45,680 for individuals or between $23,850 to $95,400 for a family of four. 

This year's exchange has a new health insurer, Mountain Health CO-OP, joining the marketplace. CO-OPs—or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans—are new nonprofit organizations that have emerged since the creation of the Affordable Care Act.

The other carriers include: BEST Life and Health Insurance Company, Blue Cross of Idaho, BridgeSpan Health Company, Delta Dental of Idaho, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, PacificSource Health Plans, SelectHealth and Willamette Dental.

But don't expect as much flexibility this year when it comes to deadlines. They're open for business today, but they insist that you have until Feb. 15 to enroll—after that, only major life changes, like job changes, marital status, etc., will give you an exemption to change your policy. At least until next year.

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