Your Health Idaho has now been operating for 7 months though not without misconceptions. Idaho - instead of taking a back seat and allowing the federal government to create a health exchange, built its own exchange. Now the state firstly, has a say in how the exchange operates and also in the choice of companies allowed to participate.
Projections indicate that Idahoans will save an estimated $4.4 million in fees alone. The Your Health Idaho board of directors set the Idaho exchange operating assessment fee at 1.5 percent, as compared to the 3.5 percent fee charged by the federal exchange. The board of directors has decided to keep the fee at the same low rate through 2015 because we believe we can run our exchange as a lean and efficient business. And importantly, those fees stay in Idaho rather than being sent to Washington, D.C.
AdvertisementYour Health Idaho initially faced criticism for relying on federal technology, though by being careful Idaho could learn from the experiences of other more aggressive states. The board of directors works hard to make the best choices for Idahoans - they decide about the expenses and the type of health plans sold on the exchange. They have 146 plans to choose from and a competitive marketplace where private companies compete for business..Each plan is scrutinized by the Idaho Department of Insurance.
Idaho heath exchange is successful because the board of directors preserves the role of agents and brokers as primary resources for the consumers. The state has an understanding with the agents and brokers which is an advantage they would not have with federally managed exchanges. Thousands of consumers would have to navigate the exchange on their own, which would have proved to be extremely confusing.
Your Health Idaho announced that more than 76,000 Idahoans had selected a plan through the exchange. It works with one of the smallest staffs and one of the smallest budgets in the nation. Negative talk about Idaho's exchange is inevitable; a health insurance marketplace created for and by Idahoans provides the best health insurance options for the residents.
Dave Self, May 2014
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