Health Insurance in Idaho in 2018

As the Open Enrollment Period for enrolling in a qualified health insurance plans kicks off for 2018, I thought it would be a good time to review some basics on how health insurance in Idaho works these days.

Open Enrollment Period

If you do not currently have a health insurance plan you have until December 15th to get signed up, or else you will most likely have to wait for 2019.   If you already have a health insurance plan, the deadline to switch to a different plan is the same day, December 15th.

Who Qualifies for a premium tax credit?

APTC, or Advanced Premium Tax Credit is when your health insurance premiums are significantly reduced based on your income.  Anyone who isn’t offered coverage from work and has income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line based on their family size may qualify for the premium tax credit.  Coverage from work also applies to spouses and children if coverage is offered to them.   The 2018 federal poverty line for a family of 1 is $12,060 and goes up by $4,180 for each additional person in the family. 1.   So a family of 4 can make as much as $98,400 and still qualify for a premium tax credit.

Options for Coverage in Idaho

Options are pretty slim in most states, including Idaho.  There are 4 health insurance carriers (Mountain Health Co-op, Blue Cross, Select Health, and Pacific Source) offering individual and family coverage on and off the Idaho Exchange(must get coverage on exchange to get APTC) , and 1 more that offers individual coverage outside the exchange only (Regence).   Of those 5, only 3 are really competitively priced.  But then when you talk about price increases and deductibles that keep going up, there are really no “affordable” options for most people.   With that being said, whatever your current situation is you might be able to save money by looking into all your options.  The prices vary so much with each company each year that it is usually not in your best interest to stick with the same company year over year.

Saving Money

For example, I helped a family save hundreds of dollars a month by switching them from being a spouse and children on a school district employer health plan, to a family plan off the exchange with Regence, separate from their employer.  Coverage for the actual employee is usually a very good price, but if your employer offers coverage for your spouse and children, it is usually more expensive then what you could get separate from your employer.

Another option to possibly consider, is Medi-Share, which is a Christian Care Ministry.  It is not health insurance, but it works similarly at a much lower cost and has saved people thousands of dollars.

Last but not least, if you are seriously considering going without any coverage, I would suggest you look into Health Values, a supplemental insurance carrier, which covers accidents and is under $100 for the whole family no matter your age or health.

If you need help with your health insurance I am a licensed agent  and work with the Idaho health insurance companies as well as Medi-Share and Health Values.

By Jimmy Hancock

References

  1. ASPE. “2017 Poverty Guidelines.” US Department of Health and Human Services, 31 Jan. 2017. Web. 31 Oct. 2017. <https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines>.



Health Insurance In Idaho 101

health insuranceAs the Open Enrollment Period for enrolling in a qualified health insurance plans comes close to an end for 2016, I thought it would be a good time to review some basics on how health insurance works these days.

Open Enrollment Period

If you do not currently have a health insurance plan you have until January 31st to get signed up, or else you will most likely have to wait for 2017.   If you already have a health insurance plan, the deadline to switch to a different plan was on December 15th of last year.   In general, you have to be enrolled in a plan by the 15th of the previous month in order for your coverage to start on the first of the next month.

Special Enrollment Periods

You may qualify for a special enrollment period of 60 days following one of the following events.  If you lose coverage, get married, have a baby, have a change in income, or move, you will qualify to be able to enroll in a plan even during non open enrollment periods.  This includes children that lose coverage on their parents plan when they turn 26.

How to Enroll

In Idaho the website to search for plans, apply for a premium tax credit, and enroll in a plan is Yourhealthidaho.org.   You can find a local agent to assist you on the website as well.  It is important to note that using an agent does not cost you anything, so you might as well have an agent there to help you through the process.   If you don’t qualify for a premium tax credit because your income is too high or low, you can still enroll in a plan through the state website.

Who Qualifies for a premium tax credit?

Anyone who doesn’t have coverage from work and has income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line based on their family size may qualify for the premium tax credit.  Coverage from work also applies to spouses and children if coverage is offered to them.   The 2015 federal poverty line for a family of 1 is $11,770 and goes up by $4,160 for each additional person in the family. 1.   To find out for sure if you qualify visit Yourhealthidaho.org.

Tax Penalty for not having coverage

If you or any of your dependents do not get qualified coverage  in 2016, you will most likely be faced with a very steep penalty.  The penalty is $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, up to a family maximum of $2085.  Or if you have a high income you pay 2.5% of your income as a penalty for not having coverage.   Some families with low incomes can qualify for a no affordable coverage exemption.  2.

If you need help with your health insurance I am an agent on the Yourhealthidaho.org website and work with several Idaho health insurance companies.  I am located in Idaho Falls.

By Jimmy Hancock

 

References

  1. ASPE. “2015 Poverty Guidelines.” US Department of Health and Human Services, 3 Sept. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <https://aspe.hhs.gov/2015-poverty-guidelines>.
  2. US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Fee For Not Being Covered.” Healthcare.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.