Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Opens Up For First Time During Coronavirus Pandemic

Oct 30, 2020

Credit Your Health Idaho

Idahoans hoping to get health coverage through the state’s health insurance exchange can begin signing up Nov. 1. The open enrollment period starting Sunday will be the first chance during the pandemic that many state residents have had to sign up for health insurance.

Idaho is one of 12 states and Washington, D.C. that operates its own health insurance exchange and was the only state to not open a special enrollment period after the coronavirus swept the country.

Those who experienced some type of defined life-changing event, like losing their previous coverage through their job, getting married or becoming a U.S. citizen, were eligible to sign up through the exchange during this time.

Gov. Brad Little and Dean Cameron, the director of the Idaho Department of Insurance, had the authority to open a special enrollment period, but declined to do so. They instead told folks they could sign up for health plans available year-round that don’t meet federal coverage standards to be considered health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

As Boise State Public Radio previously reported, these plans aren’t eligible for a subsidy and don’t cover doctor visits or prescription drugs related to pre-existing conditions for six months – including a pregnancy.

They also include a lifetime maximum benefit between $1 million to $2 million, depending on the carrier.

Those signing up during this year’s open enrollment period will be able to choose among seven different insurance carriers.

The deadline for open enrollment is Dec. 15, with health coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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