Feeling overwhelmed as you shop for health insurance in Idaho?
Finding health insurance in Idaho is even more complicated than in other states. Idaho has a state Health Insurance Marketplace for Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, plans. The state marketplace is known as “Your Health Idaho.” Also, changes to Idaho state insurance law divide short-term health plans into two types:
- Traditional short-term health plans.
- Enhanced short-term health plans.
Let’s take a closer look at your options for short-term health insurance in Idaho.
Idaho has two types of short-term health insurance plans to choose from for coverage.
Traditional short-term plans are available year-round but can’t be renewed.
Enhanced short-term plans offer more coverage and can be renewed.
What Is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Think of short-term health plans as temporary insurance coverage. Short-term plans last less than a year. They’re easier to apply for than an Obamacare plan and you can start coverage within 30 days after approval. You might even be able to start the following day.
While ACA plans have a set sign-up period, you can usually sign up for temporary health plans anytime during the year. Short-term health insurance also costs less than most ACA plans.
Coverage from a short-term plan, however, won’t be as complete as an ACA plan. Temporary plans are designed as limited coverage to fill gaps between comprehensive health insurance plans. They’re ideal if you’re waiting for a new policy to start, such as at a new job. Most short-term plans don’t cover preexisting conditions and you may not have coverage for certain prescriptions or certain illnesses.
What Kind of Short-Term Plans Can You Buy in Idaho?
At the beginning of 2020, changes to Idaho insurance law introduced a new type of short-term insurance plan.1 In addition to traditional short-term plans, Idahoans are now able to apply for enhanced short-term plans.
These enhanced plans offer more coverage than traditional short-term plans and are convertible to ACA plans. The lists below should help you better understand the similarities and differences between Idaho’s enhanced and traditional short-term health plans.2
Traditional Short-Term Health Plans:
- Not guaranteed issue, which means insurance companies can refuse enrollment based on health issues.
- May not exceed 12 months of coverage.
- Can’t be reissued within 63 days of the effective date.
- Enrollment is year-round.
Idaho Enhanced Short-Term Health Plans:
- Guaranteed issue, so insurance companies can’t reject you based on health issues.
- Guaranteed renewals up to 36 months and convertible to ACA plans.
- Maximum duration of 12 months per renewal, up to 36 months.
- The insurance carrier must also offer ACA plans on the Idaho marketplace.
- May have an Open Enrollment Period or be offered year-round.
How Much Do Short-Term Health Plans Cost in Idaho?
The cost of short-term health insurance in Idaho is usually less than an ACA-compliant plan, regardless of the type of short-term plan you choose.
The monthly cost of short-term health insurance in Idaho — called a premium — varies depending on the plan. Traditional Idaho short-term health plans use your age as the main factor in determining your monthly premium. Enhanced plans use your current health in addition to your age to set your rate.
Expect a traditional short-term health insurance plan in Idaho to cost between $60 and $250 a month for someone who is around 30 years old. Enhanced plans may cost more because they are guaranteed issue, so you can’t be denied coverage due to your health.
While you can’t be denied coverage, the insurance company may charge a higher premium depending on any health issues or preexisting conditions you may have.
Monthly premiums aren’t the only cost in a short-term health insurance plan. You’ll also need to consider your options for a deductible, copayment, and coinsurance
The amount you pay toward medical costs out-of-pocket. Once you reach your deductible, your health insurance benefits kick in. Deductibles for both traditional and enhanced short-term health plans range from $500 to over $5,000. Most plans offer deductibles of $1,000 or $2,000.
A set amount you pay for a medical service after meeting your deductible. For example, your copayment could be $25 for visits to the doctor’s office. After meeting your deductible, you’ll pay $25 each time you go to the doctor. Copayments vary by the service you’re receiving. Most copays for enhanced short-term plans are between $20 and $60 for an office visit.
Coinsurance is the percentage of the cost of medical services you’re required to cover. Like copayments, coinsurance begins after you meet your deductible. In-network coinsurance for short-term health insurance in Idaho is usually 20%. After you meet your deductible, you’ll be responsible for 20% of the cost of services if you go to a doctor in the insurance provider’s network. For example, you meet your $1,000 deductible and visit an in-network doctor for a checkup. The doctor charges $100 and you have 20% coinsurance. You’ll cover $20 and your insurance covers the remaining $80.
How Do You Buy Idaho Short-Term Medical Insurance?
There are a few ways to buy temporary health insurance in Idaho. Your first step to finding a short-term health plan is to look for insurance providers that offer temporary plans.
Some insurance companies only offer ACA plans. Many insurance companies have information about short-term options on their websites. You can also use websites likes HealthCareInsider.com to view your options. If you’re unsure if a company has short-term plans, contact their customer service or an agent to learn about their options.
Who Sells Short-Term Health Plans in Idaho?
A limited number of health insurance companies offer short-term plans in Idaho. While traditional short-term plans don’t have additional restrictions on who can offer them, enhanced plans do.
Enhanced short-term health insurance providers in Idaho must also offer full ACA plans. Any company that wants to offer enhanced plans must request the ability to sell enhanced plans from the state. Since enhanced plans are relatively new, more options should be available in the future.
Providers of Sort-Term Health Insurance in Idaho:
- BlueCross of Idaho.
- National General Health Insurance.
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for You?
A short-term health insurance plan gives you temporary medical coverage. Short-term health plans are ideal for someone who is relatively healthy and doesn’t have preexisting conditions.
These temporary plans are best if you’re in between regular insurance coverage or need an affordable temporary option because:
- You’re starting a new job and won’t be covered by your employer plan for the first few months.
- You’re in between jobs and need temporary, affordable coverage.
When Shouldn’t You Choose a Temporary Health Plan?
Short-term health insurance isn’t for everyone in Idaho. Even the recent enhanced plans don’t give you the same coverage as regular ACA health insurance.
You may want to consider different health coverage options if:
- You have a preexisting condition.
- You need the essential benefits covered by ACA-compliant plans:
- Outpatient care (care without being admitted to a hospital).
- Emergency services.
- Pregnancy and newborn care.
- Mental health and substance use disorders.
- Prescription drugs.
- Rehabilitative or habilitative services and devices.
- Laboratory services.
- Preventive services.
- Pediatric services, including children’s dental and vision coverage.
Idaho offers two types of temporary health insurance options. Enhanced short-term health plans help create an intermediate option for someone who wants more coverage than traditional short-term health insurance. On the other hand, traditional short-term health plans could be an affordable, temporary option if you’re healthy and waiting on long-term health insurance.
Looking to check your options? Let HealthCareInsider.com help. Check out plans in your area through our site or let us connect you with an agent to walk you through your choices.