Morning News â€” Leslie Mielke
Presenting information about Your Health Idaho were Steven Weeg (on left), Todd Bateman and Randy Gardner. The informational meeting took place at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center on Wednesday evening.
BLACKFOOT â€” Three presenters who are part of the 19-member board of Your Health Idaho were at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center to explain the Idaho health exchange to the 22 people present.
"I came mostly for my married children; to learn how it will affect them," said Deanna Lamprecht.
She said she received some answers.
The presenters were Steven Weeg, Todd Bateman and Randy Gardner. Weeg explained the requirements of the insurance. Bateman gave an overview of comparing different insurance plans. Gardner explained how to use the Your Health Idaho website.
The good news is, if you are over age 65 and you qualify for Medicare, you are not required to change your insurance.
Americans over the age of 18 will be required to carry a health insurance plan.
Some exceptions to buying a plan include:
Â° Individuals under the age of 26 who are covered on their parents' plan.
Â° Those over the age of 65 and qualify for Medicare.
Â° Those who are currently covered by an insurance plan.
Â° Adults whose income is below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
Â° Those members of a federally recognized tribe.
Every plan must meet the following requirements:
Â° preventive care
Â° prescription drugs
Â° emergency care
Â° doctor's visits
Â° maternity and newborn
Â° mental health and substance abuse care
Â° habilitive and rehabilitive care
Â° laboratory services
Â° wellness services
"This is shared risk," said Weeg. "We need to learn to play together."
Rates for these plans are based only on age, location, smoking status and individual or family coverage. The rate difference between young adults and older adults can be no more the 1 to 3.
One woman stated she was happy the Affordable Care Act was available.
"This gives me peace of mind because I am not buying an inferior product," she said. [Worrying about the insurance you carry can] make you more anxious than you need to be."
An 82-year-old woman in the audience, stated, "I do not need maternity and newborn coverage. Will I need to change my policy and get insurance on the exchange?"
"You are over 65-years-old, so you qualify for Medicare. Your health insurance does not change."
Bateman emphasized people should compare plans, the cost of the premiums and what each plan covers.
"My best advice isâ€”don't buy on price alone," he said.
There are four plansâ€”bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
A person needs to be on a silver plan to receive a advanced premium tax credit or cost sharing option, said Bateman.
To assist people, there are in-person assisters who help with the applications. They work for non-profit associations, like Bingham Memorial Hospital or SEICAA and have been cleared through national background checks. They can help a person understand available options although they are NOT able to make recommendations.
If you need advice on plans, call an agents and brokers. These people are licensed and regulated by Idaho's Department of Insurance.
As opposed to in-person assisters, agents and brokers CAN make recommendations and advise on which plan to buy.
There is no charge to receive information from in-person assisters, agents or brokers.
"The website, Your Health Idaho, is a wealth of information," said Gardner.
The website is www.YourHealthIdaho.org
To reach the Consumer Resource Center, call 1-855-YH-Idaho (1-855-944-3246).
The three presenters highly recommended people take advantage of help from in-person assisters, agents or brokers for an explanation of the available plans.
Idaho's open enrollment period is from October 2013 through March 31, 2014. The next enrollment period is from Oct. 15, 2014, to Dec. 7, 2014. (This matches the Medicare enrollment period.)