What You Need to Know
Blue Cross of Idaho offers a range of plans to meet a variety of healthcare needs and budgets.
Members of Blue Cross of Idaho can access a large network of providers, and every hospital in the state is in-network.
Blue Cross of Idaho offers plans that are up to 40% less expensive than ACA Marketplace plans.
Blue Cross of Idaho is a health insurance company with a history that dates back to 1945. It’s the oldest health insurer in Idaho, in fact. Today the company covers roughly one-quarter of all Idaho residents. That’s about 600,000 members across the markets it serves. It offers plans throughout the entire state. Blue Cross of Idaho is one of the largest health plans in the Gem State, and its network extends to more than 2,400 providers. One hundred percent of Idaho hospitals are in-network.1
An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, a network of 36 independent and local health insurers, Blue Cross of Idaho is a not-for-profit insurer. Being part of the larger network, which ranks as the best provider network in the HealthCareInsider Best Health Insurance Companies Guide, gives the local plans ample resources and major name recognition. But, like all smaller community-based insurers, Blue Cross of Idaho aims to have the independence and flexibility to meet the specific needs of its members. Making healthcare accessible and affordable is the company’s stated mission.
The company was born out of a meeting of local industrialists and physicians to incorporate a business, and its earliest premiums cost just $1 a month. Back then, its name was Idaho Hospital Service (IHS), and it only covered hospital care. In 1949, IHS expanded coverage to include doctors’ care. In the 1970s, following a merger with another company, IHS was renamed Blue Cross of Idaho. It operates out of its headquarters in Meridian and roughly 1,000 Idahoans work there.2
What Health Insurance Does Blue Cross of Idaho Offer?
Blue Cross of Idaho offers health plans that meet the needs of a wide range of people across the state. The company offers traditional individual and family plans as well as less expensive options for those who don’t qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Use this calculator to see if you qualify for premium subsidies.) You can choose from preferred provider organization (PPO) and health maintenance organization (HMO) options. ACA-compliant plans run the gamut from basic catastrophic coverage, which are more for emergency needs, up through more comprehensive bronze, silver, and gold plans.
Short-term, or temporary, insurance plans are also available. (These generally cost less than traditional plans, but offer less comprehensive coverage.) Additionally, Blue Cross of Idaho offers Medicare, which is generally available to those 65 and up, and Medicaid, which is available to those who qualify based on low income or disability. Medicare Advantage plans are available for those who need more coverage than Original Medicare can provide. Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, policies are for those who want to add coverage to Original Medicare.
Many small, medium, and larger employers throughout the state offer Blue Cross of Idaho plans for employees. Depending on the specific health plan you’re looking at, vision and dental coverage may be included.3
The types of care covered in full or in part by Blue Cross of Idaho plans are typical of most major insurance carriers. You’ll get access to primary care, telehealth services, prescriptions, mental health care, preventive care, immunizations, maternity care and diagnostic tests. Premiums, coinsurance, copayments and deductibles vary by specific plan.
Additional benefits can include discounts on fitness clubs, hearing aid devices or acupuncture, as well as the Medical Management program, which helps you oversee various aspects of your care.4
Plans can offer additional benefits, including discounts on fitness club memberships.
How Do You Enroll in Coverage With Blue Cross of Idaho?
You can learn about the different plans, apply for coverage, or request a rate quote through Blue Cross of Idaho’s website. If you’d rather speak with a representative, you can call (888) 462-7677.
To work with a health insurance broker, click “Find a Broker” on the company’s home page. You’ll be prompted for your ZIP code or city as well as the type of insurance you need (individual and family or Medicare). Completing the form instantly generates a list of brokers, and you can send them an email directly from this list to get the process rolling.
After you become a member, remember to always show your member ID card to any healthcare provider so they can file claims on your behalf. Member claim forms are available online for any claims you need to file yourself.
ACA and Medicare Plans
Blue Cross of Idaho offers ACA-compliant plans as well as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans.
How is Blue Cross of Idaho Rated?
When you’re choosing a health plan, how an insurance company is rated is one of the most important questions you can ask. One rating to take a close look at is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) complaint index, a measure of formal complaints made against the company. NAIC gives Blue Cross of Idaho a complaint index of 0.11, which indicates fewer complaints than average. Last year, there were a total of only three complaints against the company.5
When considering your health policy options, it can also be helpful to know how promptly a health insurer processes its claims. Blue Cross of Idaho processes 99.9% of its claims within 30 days, and about 90% within 10 days.8
What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Blue Cross of Idaho?
One attractive aspect of Blue Cross of Idaho is the affordable options it offers. Its Access plans, for example, are up to 40% less expensive than those plans offered on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. You can purchase one of these plans at any time (not just during open enrollment), which may be a plus depending on your situation.9 If you’re looking at ACA plans, there are five levels of coverage to choose from. Because Blue Cross of Idaho has a large network of providers, members can typically find one to meet their needs. In terms of weaknesses, some members complain of website glitches and issues, saying online tools feel clunky and in need of modernization.
Before you pick a health insurance plan, think about your wants and needs. Consider how often you visit a doctor. Do you need specialists on a regular basis? Do you have any chronic conditions you’re managing? Make some notes about your typical use of healthcare and how you want to use it in the future.
Visit Blue Cross of Idaho’s website and click through all the options. Read over what each plan includes and note relevant details like copayments and deductibles. Be sure to write down any questions you have.
Whether you want to work with a broker or talk to a representative from the company, picking up the phone is a good next step. Refer to the notes you’ve taken and your questions and have a conversation about your needs and your health plan options.
This can be a complicated subject, so you don’t want to make any snap decisions. After you’ve gathered all the information and had your questions answered, give yourself some time to think it through before choosing a plan and enrolling.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HealthCareInsider.com or HealthCare, Inc.