If you’re an Idaho resident, you have plenty of choices for affordable health insurance. While your rates and coverage depend on your age, health, and household size, among other things, on average you can expect to pay around $495 a month for a full-coverage health insurance plan. But rates can start as low as $330 a month, with most having the option to add dental or vision coverage. If you want these add-ons, dental plans start at $63 a month and vision can start as low as $5 a month in Idaho. And in some cases, you may find they actually qualify for discounted or even free plans!
Idaho Health Insurance Companies
Idaho has around 6 companies that offer private health insurance. Each has different plan options at different price points. The most popular ones are:
SelectHealth is a nonprofit organization offering plans to residents of both Idaho and Utah. Customers of Select Health for Idaho can choose from short-term, individual, family, employer, and dental plans. In addition, they have partnered with Medicare and CHIP, so if you qualify, you can enroll in those programs through SelectHealth.
BlueCross of Idaho
BlueCross of Idaho, an independent branch of BlueCross BlueShield Association, is the state’s largest health insurance company. They offer everything from individual, family, and employer-sponsored plans to Medicaid and Medicare plans. Policyholders have access to the 2,400 providers in their network.
Mountain Health Co-Op
This company offers metal tier plans (Bronze, Silver, and Gold), just as most companies do. The difference here is that they aren’t just another big company. They are a co-op, or a “consumer-oriented and operated plan,” which means that their board of directors is mostly made up of members. That means you get a vote and a say on how the co-op is run, and they invest their profits back into their members through the benefits they offer.
Some of those benefits include dental reimbursements, which allow you to get reimbursed for your dental exams. They do this as an incentive for their policyholders to take care of their oral health since dental issues can be the underlying cause of a lot of health problems. They also offer telehealth visits, travel benefits, and low-cost prescriptions.
Health Insurance Marketplace in Idaho
If you’re looking for health insurance in Idaho, the health insurance Marketplace is a great place to start. Marketplace health insurance, which was created by the Affordable Care Act, offers certain consumer protections, guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions, and includes coverage for what are known as the “10 essential health benefits”:
- Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care)
- Emergency services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (including counseling and psychotherapy)
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (but adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits)
Each of the ACA-compliant plans offered on the Marketplace are divided into different levels, known as metal tiers: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. These tiers do not signal a difference in quality of care, though. The tiers differ in your out-of-pocket costs versus what your plan covers.
It’s important to remember that the Marketplace only offers the plans of participating providers. So unfortunately, while the Marketplace is a great tool, you may not be able to compare every plan available to you.
Whether you want a Marketplace plan, or a plan from a private insurer, an EZ agent can help. We work with all carriers in your state in order to compare all options available.
Idaho’s Short-Term Health Insurance Guidelines
If you’ve missed the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) or have a need for health insurance for a short amount of time, short-term plans are a great option. It’s important to note, though, that these policies tend to only cover the basics, and you can be denied one of these plans if you have a pre-existing condition.
There are some rules around short-term plans, though, both at the federal and the state level. Idaho has its own guidelines for short-term health insurance: short-term health insurance plans work a little differently in Idaho. Your state has basic short-term health insurance plans that you can purchase for up to 6 months, but it has also created enhanced short-term plans. While typical short-term plans don’t have requirements on what they have to offer, enhanced plans do. They have strict rules and have to offer more robust coverage.
But in other ways, enhanced short-term plans look like plans that follow federal guidelines. This means that enhanced short-term plans have an initial term of 364 days, and you can renew your plan up to 3 times, allowing you up to just under 3 years of coverage. On the other hand, non-enhanced plans don’t allow renewals.
Idaho Health Insurance Options
Shopping for health insurance can be time consuming and frustrating, but you have options.
Employer-sponsored plans – While employers are not required to offer health plans in Idaho, most of them still do. These plans are often cheaper than buying a plan on your own because your employer gets them at a discounted rate for group coverage.
Government-assisted programs – The government has two programs that can help you get covered under certain circumstances. Government-assisted programs have specific requirements, but it’s not difficult to enroll if you’re in their target group. Medicare offers low-cost plans to those 65 and older, or adults living with a qualifying disability. Medicaid offers cheap or free plans to low-income individuals and families. There are even some companies that partner with these programs, so you can sometimes get these plans through a private health insurance company.
Agents – Working with a trained insurance agent is one of the best ways to get an affordable plan. Agents are able to quickly compare your coverage options, plan prices, and carriers. They can help you find the best coverage for your specific needs.
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How to Get the Most Savings
When it comes to healthcare spending, Idaho is one of the cheaper states. It ranks 40th out of all 50 states, with an average spending of $7,772 per person annually. Even though your state is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, there are still ways for you to save money on your health insurance.
Lower your body mass index (BMI) – While insurers generally can’t take pre-existing conditions into consideration, they can look at certain aspects of your health, including your BMI. So, if you’re among the 29.5% of adults in Idaho who are obese, getting your BMI into what is considered a healthy range can make a difference in your premiums. Having too high or too low of a BMI can cause your premiums to increase, so keeping yourself at a healthy weight can ensure you’re getting the best price.
Avoid using tobacco – Another health-related factor that health insurance companies look at is smoking. Smoking can be the cause of a lot of health complications, and that is a big risk for insurance companies, so premiums for smokers can cost up to 50% more than those for people who don’t smoke. Quitting not only helps your body stay healthy, but it also keeps your health insurance premiums low.
Look at where you live – Where you live also affects your premiums. Living in an area where there are more medical providers available can help you to save money. Washington, Gem, Boise, and Payette are some of the counties that have the cheapest premiums available in Idaho. So, if you’re looking to move to Idaho, or already live here and are planning a move soon, look into what areas might offer better premiums.
Get help – Working with an insurance agent is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money. In fact, EZ agents can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your health insurance premiums. They take your financial situation into account while looking for plans, and they can apply any local discounts available to you. And all of our services are free!
Idaho Health Insurance FAQS
Does Idaho require you to have health insurance?
The Affordable Care Act does still require citizens to carry health insurance, but there is no longer a federal tax penalty for not having a plan. Some states require you to have health insurance, but Idaho does not – but even though you aren’t required to have coverage doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
What is the cheapest health insurance in Idaho?
The cheapest health plan will be a Bronze plan, which can start as low as $330 a month. Remember, though, health insurance plan prices can vary depending on age, zip code, gender, and other factors.
How much does health insurance cost in Idaho?
The average monthly premium for health insurance in Idaho is $495, or $5,940 per year, with plans as low as $330 a month to as high as $1,163. But do not let these numbers scare you. Many uninsured people in Idaho qualify for a $0 Bronze plan and don’t even know it.
Which insurance companies offer plans in Idaho?
The top 5 insurers in Idaho are BlueCross of Idaho Health Services, Mountain Health Co-Op, PacificSource Health Plans, Regence BlueShield of Idaho, and SelectHealth.
How to Enroll in Health Insurance in Idaho
As we’ve pointed out, you’ve got plenty of health insurance options available to you in Idaho. So now it’s time to enroll. And when it comes to enrolling, you’ve got some options. As previously stated, you can enroll through your employer, or you can purchase a plan directly from an insurance company.
Or, Idaho also has its own state-run health insurance Marketplace called Your Health Idaho. Here you can shop and compare plans from six different carriers in the state. You can even find out if you qualify for one of the government-assisted programs mentioned above.
It’s important to note that not every carrier in the state participates in the exchange. So, keep in mind you may have better plans available to you off the Marketplace. Your best bet is to work with an EZ agent. We can help you shop all of the options on and off the Marketplace. We will take note of all your medical and financial needs to find you the carrier and plan that will fit you best. All of our services are free and there is no obligation. We’re here to help you get enrolled quickly and free of stress.
If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-670-3557. When you call, you will be directly connected to a local insurance agent who can answer all of your questions and help you find the health insurance plan that works best for you.