Your Health Idaho has "jettisoned" HealthCare.gov
and created an Idaho-specific online healthcare exchange forum, YourHealthIdaho.org
. And though Your Health Idaho Executive Director Pat Kelly couldn't say just how many new enrollees Idaho's healthcare exchange program received since the new enrollment period began Nov. 15
, he did say that the Idaho-run website and the four Your Health Idaho call centers got a lot of traffic.
According to Kelly, the Your Health Idaho website received 13,000 unique page visits, with an average visit length of about 10 minutes. He estimated that the average time it takes for a person to enroll through Your Health Idaho is about 30 minutes. More than 700 calls were made to call centers in Lewiston, Idaho Falls and Boise.
When HealthCare.gov rolled out in 2013, the federal healthcare exchange website experienced delays and technical problems that led to widespread criticism of the site. Kelly said that in its opening weekend, Idaho's site experienced none of the problems that plagued the federal website.
"We're really, really pleased with our experience over the first couple of days. We planned for a few bumps in the road and we're really pleased that we didn't incur any of the problems," he said. "We opened at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and our phones lit up minutes later. No delays at all."
Last year, approximately 76,000 Idahoans used HealthCare.gov to enroll for healthcare insurance plans through private insurance carriers. This year, Idaho has added 52 new insurance plans and two insurance carriers over 2013. Plans purchased through Your Health Idaho must cover essential health benefits like hospitalization, emergency services, prescription drugs, preventative and wellness care, maternity care, ambulatory patient services, mental health, substance abuse disorder services, rehabilitative care and laboratory services.
With Your Health Idaho, those who have already enrolled have the options of searching for a new plan through YHI or through insurance brokers. Should they choose to do nothing, the 76,000 Idahoans who enrolled through HealthCare.gov will automatically be re-enrolled, though, according to Kelly, "almost every plan has changed in one way or another." The cost of "silver"-level insurance coverage—the most popular plan grade—has decreased by as much as 12 percent or increased by as much as 9 percent over 2013, depending on the enrollee's circumstances. Kelly recommends that potential enrollees visit the Your Health Idaho website to find a plan that matches enrollees' needs and price points.
"Healthcare is one of those things you need to investigate," Kelly said.
Open enrollment through Your Health Idaho closes Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015.