Proposed Idaho Insurance Plans Disregard Obamacare Mandates

Jan 26, 2018

In an attempt to lower the cost of insurance, Idaho is considering letting providers sell policies disregarding mandates put in place by the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Alex Proimos / Flickr

The state of Idaho is attempting to lower insurance premiums by proposing policies that scrap key provisions established in the Affordable Care Act. Called legally dubious by some opponents, the state’s attempt at closing the so-called insurance gap in the Gem State by disregarding Obamacare mandates is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation.

Citing individual insurance premiums that have gone up by over 20 percent each of the past three years, Wes Trexler says the proposed plan will help those who can’t afford coverage or figure they don’t need it.

“It’s more of an alternative; it’s complementary to the exchange-certified plans and meets a different need than the exchange plans,” he says. “This is able to offer comprehensive health care at a lower price.”

Trexler is a bureau chief with the Idaho Department of Insurance. Those lower rates would come about by allowing insurance providers to create policies denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions for up to a year and set rates based on where someone lives, their medical history and how old they are.

While health care experts question the legality of the move, Trexler believes the proposed plans are legal because ACA-compliant policies will continue to be sold.

“We think that these are legal, yes,” Trexler says. “I think that we’ll continue to enforce the ACA and make sure that ACA policies are available in the market. We’re hopeful that carriers will decide to offer these state-based plans as well and give those people who’ve been priced out an alternative that may better work for them.”

It’s thought that while the state can overlook insurers out of compliance with federal law, Obamacare advocates can take Idaho to court where judges are bound to uphold current laws.

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