Idaho exchange board approves 261 coverage plans

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's online marketplace will offer 261 different coverage plans to individuals and small businesses wanting health insurance.

The state's health exchange board members approved five companies Monday to offer the plans, which will open for enrollment Nov. 15. Those companies are Blue Cross of Idaho, BridgeSpan, PacificSource, SelectHealth and Mountain Health Co-Op.

The board did not set any prices for the plans but in 2013, the average estimated policy was $240 monthly.

Idaho's exchange offers five levels of coverage. Higher deductibles come with cheaper plans, along with lowered percentages of covered costs and fewer services. Unlike small businesses, individuals have the option to purchase low-cost catastrophic coverage plans.

Almost 90 different medical coverage plans will be available to individuals and 80 medical coverage plans will be available to small businesses.

PacificSource will offer 27 plans, the most of the five companies, followed by Blue Cross of Idaho with 23, SelectHealth with 19 and Mountain Health Co-Op with 12.

Almost all of the companies' plans are provided throughout the state, said Wes Trexler with the Idaho Department of Insurance.

"Each plan is accessible to 30 percent of local community providers depending on what region you are in," Trexler said, adding that his department has been reviewing each plan to make sure they meet a strict criteria set by the Affordable Care Act.

Dental care plans will also be available to individuals and small businesses.

The companies offering dental coverage include Best Life Insurance Company, Blue Cross of Idaho, Delta Dental of Idaho, PacificSource, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and Willamette Dental of Idaho.

Marketplace interim executive director Patrick Kelly says 45,000 Idaho households are eligible for the exchange.

Idaho's exchange is part of President Obama's 2010 health care reform act. It's designed to allow people who don't have insurance to compare and purchase policies online.

People who enroll in Idaho's exchange may qualify for a federal subsidy for their policies, based on their income.

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