Health Insurance

Nearly 90,000 Idahoans signed up for health care coverage this year, according to a report from Your Health Idaho, the Gem State’s insurance exchange. That’s down significantly compared to 2019—a change YHI leaders attribute to Medicaid expansion.

“We always knew Medicaid expansion was a possibility, and that as a result, enrollments on the exchange would be impacted,” wrote YHI Executive Director Pat Kelly in a press release. “We’ve always planned for this change and do not expect to see any material adjustments to our long-term sustainability.”

In November 2018, Idahoans voted overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of people in the Gem State. A year later, the application period for signing up for coverage through the program opened. YHI anticipated to lose some 18,000 applicants in 2019, but in the Jan. 8 release, it said actual attrition was closer to 14,000 enrollees, 13,000 of which were due to Medicaid expansion.

Kelly told Boise Weekly that a silver lining to the post-enrollment numbers is that 25% of enrollees are new customers, a proportion higher in previous years.

“The new customers shows a growing awareness of the exchange in Idaho, as well as more familiarity with the program,” he said. “We saw an increase around Medicaid expansion that caused some headaches for us, but we’re being recognized as a resource for Idahoans.”

Though the main phase of enrollment for a health care plan through YHI has concluded, some life events may qualify applicants for a special application period, including a change in employment status, the birth of a child, marriage, divorce and others. The Your Health Idaho website has a complete list on its website.

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