More than 300 in Idaho sign up through health exchange


by Associated Press & Stephanie Zepelin

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 1:50 PM

BOISE -- Three hundred and thirty-eight people have selected health coverage via Idaho's insurance exchange during its glitch-plagued first month, October 1 to November 2.

"From the Your Health Idaho perspective, we are very pleased with these initial figures," said Executive Director Amy Dowd.

Dowd said they did not have enrollment goals, but are trying to make people aware of all their options.

Your Health Idaho's enrollee figures were released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which also gave statistics for the nation's other exchanges.

In total, 106,185 people in the United States have selected plans.

Among states working with the federal government to create a marketplace, the average number of plans selected is about 744. Idaho has 338. The lowest state is North Dakota with 42, and 13 other states have fewer plans selected than Idaho.

President Barack Obama's administration has predicted about 7 million people will get coverage via exchanges in 2014, with Idaho accounting for 40,000 of that figure.

Idaho's state-based exchange is using federal software to enroll participants until at least next October.

Consequently, many people seeking coverage have encountered the same problems as prospective enrollees in 35 other states using the federal system.

"Well obviously our big hang up has been the federal hang up," said Governor Butch Otter. "We're booking into a lot of their information and to their website."

In total, 4,753 applications in Idaho have been completed for a total of 10,573 people.

"Do I like the numbers? No. Do I like the mess that it's caused? No. Do I like Obamacare? No," said Otter. "But that's the real world that we've got to deal with. I hope that Congress will give us the necessary delays and the necessary extensions."