The Idaho health insurance market is bucking the inflation trend this year.
The Your Idaho Health Exchange kicked off its 2023 enrollment period this month, with the average insurance premium rate 4% lower than this year’s rates.
The Idaho Department of Insurance released rates Monday that showed up to 10% discounts. Most individual health insurance plans in Idaho are bought on the stock exchange.
Premiums vary based on a person’s age, geographic location, and tobacco use. People who qualify for subsidies through the exchange may see even more variation in how much they pay for health care and premiums, since the subsidies are based on their income.
“Idaho’s individual health insurance market premium rates for 2023 are dropping significantly while all other states are experiencing increases,” Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean L. Cameron said Monday. , in a press release.
Cameron thanked state government leaders for their support a “high risk reinsurance” program this creates a buffer for insurance companies against the cost of very expensive health insurance claims. The state had previously estimated that the program would reduce premiums by 12%.
Idaho insurers collected on average 25% more in health insurance premiums in 2021 than they paid in claims, according to the tariff revision data published by the department.
Two companies are offering health insurance on the exchange for the first time this fall: St. Luke’s Health Plan and Moda Health Plan.
They join existing exchange insurers Blue Cross of Idaho, Molina Healthcare, Mountain Health CO-OP, PacificSource Health Plans, Regence Blue Shield of Idaho and SelectHealth.
In addition, six insurers will offer exchange-based dental plans.
The new additions mean Idahoans in all parts of the state will have multiple insurers competing for their business when they sign up for 2023 plans — with each county having at least four options to choose from, according to Your Health Idaho.
Idahoans have until December 15 to enroll in a new plan or change their coverage for 2023.
The exchange offers medical and dental insurance plans that meet federal requirements for affordability and coverage. For example, health insurance plans are required to pay for certain preventive care services at no cost to the patient.
Idahoans can visit yourhealthidaho.org to find out if they qualify for income-based subsidies to lower their monthly premiums. According to a press release from Your Health Idaho, more than 85% of consumers who purchase insurance on the exchange are eligible for assistance.
Idahoans can register on the website and see their grant results in minutes, according to the release. Prior to this year, applications had to go through a longer process to determine eligibility based on income.
“If you have applied in the past and been overwhelmed by the process, we encourage you to give us another
try. Now it’s easier than ever,” said Your Health Idaho Executive Director Pat Kelly.
The website allows consumers to browse plans anonymously or fill out an application for coverage that will take effect on January 1.
After the open enrollment period ends on December 15, Idahoans cannot subscribe to plans on the exchange unless they have a major life event, such as loss of health insurance coverage because of their work.
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Medicare Advantage and Prescription Plans Now Open
Idahoans who are eligible for Medicare plans can enroll in new plans or make changes to their existing plans through Dec. 7.
Representatives of the Idaho Department of Insurance’s Senior Health Benefits Advisors provide information to consumers free of charge. Counselors do not work for health insurance funds and are not salespeople.
“Medicare can be confusing and things can change. It’s important that seniors in Idaho take the time during open enrollment to consider whether their plan is still the best fit for their medical needs,” Cameron said in a press release.
Call 800-247-4422 to speak with a SHIBA representative about health insurance plans and coverage options, or to register for a SHIBA workshop.
The Idaho Department of Insurance and SHIBA also warned consumers in Idaho to watch out for scams and illegal marketing ploys as they consider Medicare enrollment.