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State health exchanges opens enrollment 2015

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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More than 76,000 Idahoans purchased health coverage through Idaho's health insurance exchange last year. If you bought insurance through the exchange, or are considering buying from the exchange this year, the Idaho Department of Insurance has some information to make the process a little easier.

The Basics: Health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, operate in every state. Idaho's exchange is Your Health Idaho (YHI). You can visit the YHI website, www.yourhealthidaho.org, to apply for and enroll in coverage. If you have coverage through Medicare or an employer, you do not need to apply for coverage through Your Health Idaho. Open enrollment for 2015 coverage began November 15, 2014, and ends February 15, 2015.

If you purchased health insurance through Your Health Idaho last year, you will be automatically enrolled in the same or similar plan unless you select a different plan by December 15th. Your eligibility for subsidies depends on your income and available policies in your area. Either of these may have changed from last year. If you do not complete a new eligibility determination, you may be responsible for repaying the difference between what you are currently receiving and what you should receive when you file your 2015 taxes.

If you had a plan that is no longer offered, you may have already received a cancellation notice. Some plans were extended for one year and are no longer available. You should review all of your insurance options, including purchasing on the exchange. If you choose to purchase insurance "off" the exchange in the individual market, you will not be eligible for subsidies.

Your coverage options including the following plans. Plans sold through Your Health Idaho fall into one of four categories: bronze, silver, gold or platinum. The different categories represent what an average enrollee would pay out-of-pocket. All plans must cover 10 essential health benefits. The levels of payment are:

Bronze: the plan pays, on average, 60%; consumer pays 40%

Silver: the plan pays, on average, 70%; consumer pays 30%

Gold: the plan pays, on average, 80%; consumer pays 20%

Platinum: the plan pays, on average, 90%; consumer pays 10%

Your Health Idaho also offers catastrophic plans which only cover you if you require extensive care. Catastrophic plans are available for individuals under 30 years old or for those with very low incomes who cannot afford other options. Catastrophic plans will not be eligible for use with a health savings account in 2015.

A trained and licensed insurance agent can help you navigate the available options and application process. Trained in-person assisters can also help, but they are not licensed insurance agents; they cannot recommend a specific insurance plan or sell you insurance.

Exact rates may depend on age, family size, geographic location and tobacco use. In addition, some people may qualify for subsidies based on their income. These subsidies come in the form of a tax credit, applied to your monthly premiums, and cost-sharing reductions.

If you have questions, contact Your Health Idaho, www.yourhealthidaho.org, or the Idaho Department of Insurance, www.doi.idaho.gov.



Copyright 2014 The Aberdeen Times, Aberdeen, Idaho. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: December 3, 2014



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