Two days ago, October 1, the Idaho Health Exchange opened for business. Now many beleaguered families in Idaho can get affordable health care. Finally 200,000 people will be able to finally get coverage through the marketplace. With significant subsidies for example a family of four making $40,000 per year will pay around $163 per month rather than $690 per month without the subsidy. Consumers will be able to compare many plans and levels of insurance and make the choice that is right for them? and their families. If you already have insurance from your employer you will stay with your employer plan, but now you have a number of preventive care services without co-pays or deductibles, including? preventive services? as mammograms and colonoscopies that screen for cancer.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Women will no longer be charged more than men for the same coverage. Premium rates for middle age adults will now be capped by the ACA.
We who work in the medical field daily see families struggling to have access to health care. In Valley County for example we have 38% of our non elderly adults without health care coverage. Many of the uninsured use the emergency room for primary care which is costly. ? Lacking a primary care physician, the uninsured delay seeking care, they come in sicker, often requiring expensive hospitalization.
Governor Otter and a majority of the legislature voted for the Idaho Health Exchange part of the ACA last year. They rose above partisan considerations to do what is best for our citizens in regards to access to affordable care.
Please go to http://www.yourhealthidaho.org? to explore what your options are and sign up for coverage. If you enroll before December 15 you will receive coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Open enrollment will continue to March 31, 2014. Don?t let your family be vulnerable. Keep your family safe by having insurance. Individuals and families making 100% of poverty to 400% of poverty can receive help with paying for premiums. For example a family of four with a yearly income of 100% of poverty level has a $23,550 yearly income to 400% of poverty at $ 94,200 yearly income.
Unfortunately there is a gap in coverage for those earning below !00% of poverty. This January the legislature has an opportunity to close that gap by accepting Medicaid funding already available giving working poor families have coverage. In addition county and state governments would save money by reducing the need? the demand for State Indigent Care? funds.
The time has come for some peace of mind in regards to availability of affordable health care for ourselves and our families. Explore the Idaho Health Exchange, http://www.yourhealthidaho.org or call consumer assistance hotline at 855-YHIdaho (855-944-3246)?to answer any questions you may have about your health insurance options.
Dr. Caitlan Gustafson
Dr. ? Scott Harris
Bill Thomas, LCSW
Dr. Edie and Thomas Welty
Dr. Julie Welty