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It’s time to pick your health insurance plan for 2023, Idaho

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Your Health Idaho's insurance plans and Medicare-related insurance plans are both open for enrollment, but only until mid-December. (Tom Werner/Getty Images)

Enrollment opens for Medicare and for Your Health Idaho exchange plans

Idaho’s health insurance marketplace is bucking the inflation trend this year.

The Your Health Idaho exchange launched its 2023 enrollment period this month, with the average insurance premium rate coming in 4% below this year’s rates.

The Idaho Department of Insurance published rates on Monday that showed as much as 10% reductions. Most of Idaho’s individual health insurance plans are purchased on the exchange.

Premiums vary based on a person’s age, geographic location and tobacco use. People who qualify for subsidies through the exchange can 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 substantially decreasing while all other states are seeing increases,” Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean L. Cameron said in a news release Monday.

Cameron credited state government leaders for supporting a “high risk reinsurance” program that creates a buffer for insurance companies from the cost of very expensive health insurance claims. The state previously estimated the program would reduce premiums by 12%.

Idaho insurers on average collected 25% more in health insurance premiums in 2021 than they paid out in claims, according to the rate review 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 dental plans on the exchange.

The new additions mean that Idahoans in all parts of the state will have multiple insurers competing for their business when they enroll in plans for 2023 — with every county having at least four options to choose from, according to Your Health Idaho.

Idahoans have until Dec. 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, the health insurance plans are required to pay for certain preventive care services with no cost to the patient.

Idahoans can visit yourhealthidaho.org to find out whether they qualify for income-based subsidies to lower their monthly premiums. More than 85% of consumers who sign up for insurance on the exchange qualify for help, according to a news release from Your Health Idaho.

Idahoans can sign up on the website and see their subsidy result in minutes, the release said. Before this year, applications had to go through a more lengthy process to determine income-based eligibility.

“If you’ve applied in the past and were overwhelmed by the process, we encourage you to give us another

try. It is now 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 be effective Jan. 1.

After the open enrollment period ends on Dec. 15, Idahoans cannot sign up for plans on the exchange unless they have a major life event, such as losing health insurance coverage through their job.

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.

The Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors representatives at the Idaho Department of Insurance provide information to consumers at no cost. The advisers do not work for health insurance companies and are not salespeople.

“Medicare can be confusing, and one’s circumstances can change. It’s important that Idaho seniors take the time during open enrollment to review if their plan is still the best fit for their medical needs,” Cameron said in a news release.

Call 800-247-4422 to speak with a SHIBA representative about Medicare plans and coverage options, or to register for a SHIBA workshop.

The Idaho Department of Insurance and SHIBA also have warned Idaho consumers to be aware of scams and illegal marketing ploys as they consider Medicare enrollment.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.