Idaho's Obamacare Enrollment Beats Expectations

Apr 28, 2014

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's health insurance exchange announced Monday that more than 76,000 Idahoans have signed up for coverage through the new online marketplace created through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

“We are very, very pleased with the outcomes for our six months of the launch of Your Health Idaho,” said Executive Director Amy Dowd.

Dowd says the Congressional Budget Office wanted to have 40,000 Idahoans sign up through the exchange during the first six-month open-enrollment period. Your Health Idaho exceeded that target by more than 36,000 people.

“It is very, very exciting, very encouraging that we are on the right path, that Idahoans are interested in getting insurance for themselves and their families,” said Dowd.

She doesn’t know how many of the 76,061 sign ups actually paid for their policies. She also doesn’t know how many of Idaho’s roughly 300,000 uninsured people signed up for a plan. She says finding out how many uninsured people sign up for coverage is a priority for Idaho and will be a question on the state’s portal during the next sign up period.

For the first year, Idaho’s exchange used the federal portal to sign people up for coverage. The state plans to have its own online marketplace created later this year.

To pay for Idaho's marketplace, a 1.5 percent fee is charged each time someone buys a policy on the website. That’s better than the federal government’s 3.5 percent fee that it charges.

Dowd says Idaho’s lower rate saved participants $4.4 million during this sign up period. The Your Health Idaho board recently voted to keep the state’s fee at 1.5 percent for the next year. Dowd said the hope in the future is to keep the fee lower than the federal one, while still being able to pay for upkeep on the exchange.

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