Enrollment for Insurance Through Your Health Idaho Exchange Ends Saturday 

Though plans don't go into effect until Tuesday, Jan. 1, folks looking for health insurance through the Your Health Idaho exchange only have until midnight on Saturday, Dec. 15, to apply.

"Our message is 'don't wait,'" said Your Health Idaho Executive Director Pat Kelly. "We have extended hours to help those have have waited until the last minute."

In years past, there have been some concerns that enrollment through the exchange would be low: Last year, the Trump administration cut advertising funding for exchanges, limiting essential public knowledge of insurance policies, costs and deadlines. Congress has attempted several times to repeal the law, which was passed by the Obama administration.

Kelly credited now-outgoing Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter with giving Your Health Idaho the flexibility to spend resources at its own discretion—including public outreach.

"We are able to control what we spend, how we spend it and how we work with Idahoans to find plans that work for them," he said.

The number of people who have used Your Health Idaho to obtain insurance has remained stable. In 2016, nearly 106,000 Idahoans signed up for coverage for 2017. At the end of that year, 104,000 Idahoans applied for insurance through the exchange for coverage through 2018.

Kelly said he has been impressed with how many people have returned to the exchange year after year, and that Your Health Idaho continues to make a real dent in the number of uninsured people in the Gem State.

"We think that's really driven by [the fact that] we've worked really hard to help people understand how to use their insurance," he said.

There's much work to be done, however, when it comes to enrolling qualifying Idahoans in health insurance plans. According to a report released Dec. 11 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 40 percent of qualifying uninsured Idahoans would be able to obtain a bronze-level insurance plan for free after an applicable tax credit. For context, that's more than 35,000 people—a population almost equal in size to the current Medicaid gap. Kelly said that 90 percent of people who apply would be eligible for some tax credits for purchasing health insurance, and most would save 80 percent on their monthly premiums.
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