By Zach Hagadone
Idahoans seeking 2020 health insurance coverage must complete their application through the state insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho, by Monday, Dec. 16. In anticipation of increased interest and high demand, Your Health Idaho is extending customer support hours through December.
Your Health Idaho will be open Monday through Friday, Dec. 9-20, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Phone lines will also be open Saturdays, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We want to make sure Idahoans are aware that the deadline for 2020 health insurance coverage is quickly approaching,” stated Your Health Idaho Executive Director, Pat Kelly in a news release. “This is a busy time of year and we would hate for anyone to miss out on getting covered, especially when nine out of 10 Idahoans enrolled on the exchange save an average of 80% on their monthly premium with a tax credit.”
This enrollment season, Your Health Idaho has seen an increase in traffic to the website and customer support channels compared to the same time last year. Kelly said this is likely due to increased interest and some confusion in the marketplace around Medicaid expansion.
“What we are seeing this year is that Idahoans are a bit unsure about how the process works and what programs they could be eligible for,” said Kelly. “The good news is, they only have to complete one application to find out if they are eligible for a tax credit to enroll on the exchange, or if they are eligible for expanded Medicaid.”
About 103,000 Idahoans were enrolled through the marketplace before open enrollment started Nov. 1, though approximately 18,000 of those enrollees are due to be shifted to Medicaid when expansion of the program goes into effect after Jan. 1, 2020.
The Idaho Legislature in 2018 approved a measure extending Medicaid coverage to Idahoans making 100-138% of the federal poverty level. That means a family of four with annual household income of between $25,750 and $35,535 will be “newly Medicaid eligible.” Currently, 258,209 Idahoans are enrolled in Medicaid and the Childrens Health Insurance Program, an increase of 8.42% since 2013, according to Medicaid.gov.
“People that are on Your Health Idaho are automatically renewed for the coming year, so the vast majority of our customers will have already been auto-renewed for 2020,” Kelly told the Reader in November, adding that while “we will lose some of our enrollment” with Medicaid expansion, “we’ve been very conservative in how we’ve planned. With this Medicaid expansion initiative, we’re able to weather that decline in enrollments and really thrive financially.”
One way for consumers to find out if they could be eligible for the monthly tax credit or Medicaid expansion is to use the window-shopping tool on the Your Health Idaho website. By answering a few basic questions about their household and income, visitors to the site will get either an estimate of their tax credit and what they can expect to pay for their monthly premium, or a notification that they could be eligible for another program like Medicaid. To estimate savings and shop for 2020 plans, visit yourhealthidaho.org and select “Shop Now.”
Eligibility for both the monthly tax credit and Medicaid are determined by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
For additional support in navigating the enrollment process, Your Health Idaho encourages Idahoans to work with an agent or broker. The insurance experts are licensed by the state, certified by Your Health Idaho and their help is available for free.
“We are proud to offer Idahoans a wide range of medical and dental plans for 2020,” said Kelly. “And we know that choosing the right health insurance plan is a major decision and the process can be overwhelming. That’s why we recommend everyone take advantage of the free expert help that’s available.”
For a list of certified agents and brokers, visit yourhealthidaho.org/find-help. To enroll in health insurance for the 2020 plan year, visit yourhealthidaho.org. For questions or to speak with a Your Health Idaho representative, call 1-855-944-3246.
While we have you ...
... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.
You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal