Itís powered without state or federal funding and managed by people with deep roots in the private sector who will choose business over bureaucracy every day of the week.
Your Health Idaho might be the most efficient, cost-effective model in the entire country. Yet if naysayers had had their way, Idaho today might be strapped with a mess instead of this mighty gem.
Our message is twofold: A tribute to the Your Health Idaho organization with an explanation of this little-understood operation, and an urgent message to Idahoans who might be without any health insurance today, putting themselves and their families in tremendous ó and unnecessary ó jeopardy.
Second part first.
If you or someone you know has no health care coverage ó for example, their employer might provide coverage for the worker but not her or his family ó please point them to Your Health Idaho. This is the stateís answer to the mandated Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, which is still the law of the land). Itís designed to ensure everyone has basic and affordable health care coverage.
Give this person two suggestions. One, she or he can go to yourhealthidaho.org and dive into a treasure trove of information on the different plans and their costs. There are answers to frequently asked questions and resources galore.
Or you can give the person this link: https://bit.ly/2OL9T78
Thatís pure gold. Itís a list of 52 insurance agents and brokers within 10 miles of the 83814 zip code, and their contact information. Tell your friend to pick one, call and make a free appointment. These outstanding agents and brokers will gladly help your friend wade through what can be a very confusing process in getting health insurance for the first time.
Whatís not well enough known or understood is that in many cases, health insurance may cost your friend far less than he or she expects. In the case of a family of four with income of $25,000 or $30,000, the insurance might actually cost nothing because an automatic federal tax credit could apply. A sliding scale for those who make more money still provides very reasonable, affordable options.
One more important note. Even if Proposition 2 passes on Nov. 6 and expands Medicaid coverage to more than 60,000 Idahoans who are not currently covered, it wonít go into effect until January 2020. That means people without insurance now will miss an entire year of solid, low-cost coverage.
Now back to the first point. Rep. Luke Malek of Coeur díAlene was among the most ardent proponents of a self-sufficient, self-sustaining, state-based health care program back in 2013 and he carries scars from that battle still. But his foresight, leadership and determination have paid huge dividends to many tens of thousands of Idahoans who benefit greatly from the program.
Your Health Idaho was built at lower cost than any other stateís health care exchange. It is politically agnostic, existing only for Idahoans to serve their fellow Idahoans ó 90,000 or so at this very moment.
ďWe simply provide a service that allows people to make good decisions,Ē Executive Director Pat Kelly told The Press last week.
Idahoans without insurance can enroll starting tomorrow, Nov. 1. If you already are enrolled, youíll automatically be re-enrolled, so relax.
Meantime, thanks, Luke. Our state is healthier because of you.