Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Health-insurance exchange to go on today

Event to provide information and opportunity to buy insurance


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer

Your Health Idaho and the Hailey Chamber of Commerce are partnering to hold a free health insurance enrollment event at the Community Campus in Hailey today, Jan. 8. The event will take place in the Minnie Moore room from noon to 6 p.m.

Jody Olson, Your Health Idaho’s director of communications, said she is excited to help host the event, and hopes to see those who are uninsured ready to take action and sign up for a new health insurance plan.

“There will be several health insurance agents and brokers at the event,” Olson said. “People can meet trained health-care professionals who can see where they can help and where they can be assisted to find what the best health insurance plan is for them.”

According to Your Health Idaho, roughly 200,000 Idahoans are uninsured. Olson said that since passage of the Affordable Care Act, web traffic for www.yourhealthidaho.org has resoundingly increased. From Oct. 1, 2013, to Jan. 1, 2014, there have been 814,435 page views on the website with 173,625 unique visitors.

“This event is open to anyone who has questions of any kind related to getting health insurance,” Olson said. “If people feel they are ready to enroll, then this is a great event for them.”

In March, the Legislature voted to create a state-based exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act in order to avoid having the federal government involved in the implementation of the state’s health care. Since then, Your Health Idaho has hosted 110 educational events on what the Affordable Care Act means for health insurance options for Idaho residents.

Since those educational sessions, Olson said, the focus has changed for Your Health Idaho.

 “Now, we’ve shifted over to enrollment,” she said. “We will have several carriers represented at this exchange, and they will be focused on being the efficient link to help those who need health insurance to take action.

     “Research shows that people like getting information on complex issues from friends and neighbors. We have 17 experts that live here and can relate to people in their communities.”

Your Health Idaho was established through state law in 2013 to provide an online marketplace where families and small businesses can go to compare and buy health insurance. It is governed by an 18-member board authorized by the Legislature to set regulations for implementing a state-based health insurance exchange.

Anyone applying for insurance at the event Wednesday will be asked to bring the following:

  • Proof of date of birth.
  • Social security number and employer income information for 2013 and estimated income for 2014 for everyone in their family.
  • Health insurance policy numbers for any current health plans.
  • Information about any job-related health insurance available to their family in 2014.

     The exchange will be the first of eight implementation events that will be taking place throughout the state.




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